It’s been several years since Emerson Etem was really considered a top prospect, but he’s still just 26 and could have some good hockey left in his career. That’s the hope of the Los Angeles Kings, who according to Lisa Dillman of The Athletic, will have Etem in training camp on a professional tryout next month. The journeyman winger spent last season playing in the AHL and NLA, where he suited up for the Tucson Roadrunners and Lugano HC respectively.
Etem was originally selected in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks in 2010, and was a superstar in the junior ranks before eventually making the NHL team during the 2012-13 season. In 115 games for the Ducks over three seasons though, Etem was held to just 31 points and limited minutes. Unable to carve out a full-time role, he’d eventually find himself fighting for NHL ice time with the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, before returning to the Ducks organization for a short time. Last season he signed a two-way deal with the Arizona Coyotes and earned an early call-up, but never cracked the lineup and had his contract eventually terminated so he could go play in Europe.
It will be tough for him to crack a Los Angeles squad that added Ilya Kovalchuk this summer and has seen youngsters like Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe establish themselves as full-time options, but there certainly could be a two-way deal in the future for the former top prospect. If Etem is finally willing to play in the minor leagues and fight for his next opportunity, why not have it be in Ontario just fifty miles from his hometown of Long Beach, California.