Saturday, February 28, 2015

Emerson Etem Swatch Card

I am half-psychic, I guess. I was talking to friends in the past couple of weeks, saying I really thought another trade was forthcoming between the Montréal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks after the one that sent Louis Leblanc to California and the mutual-problems trade of Rene Bourque for Bryan Allen. I just didn't think it would involve Jiri Sekac for Devante Smith-Pelly (though I'm glad it did) - I had instead imagined the Habs parting ways with blue-chip prospect and tiny guy Sven Andrighetto for Emerson Etem.

Etem, like Smith-Pelly, has proved he could be a point-per-game producer in the AHL and has had one successful postseason with the Ducks: DSP had 5 goals in 12 playoff games with the Ducks in 2013-14, while Etem had 5 points in 7 games with the club in 2012-13. They're both rugged power forwards who play right wing (though Etem shoots left) and who should reach their peak in three years or so, and it's believed Etem (a late first-round pick) has a higher upside than Smith-Pelly, a mid-second-rounder, but only time will tell. With the proper nurturing and environment, it could become as moot a debate as when the Dallas Stars had to choose between Jamie Benn (who became their captain) and James Neal (who has a 40-goal season on his resume).

And Etem's already made his presence felt in the Ducks' current run to keep their playoff position by dominating last night's game against the Los Angeles Kings, and Sekac's assist on his goal gave him his first point on his new team.

There are three ideal scenarios for the Stanley Cup Finals in this point in time for a hockey fan like myself:
1. the Habs could win the Cup
2. the Nashville Predators facing the Washington Capitals (Barry Trotz, Joel Ward and goalie coach Mitch Korn facing their opposing team, Mike Ribeiro doing the same, the best goalie in the world this year Pekka Rinne with a shot at the Cup, Peter Laviolette in a position to win as a first-year coach for the third time)
3. the New York Islanders and my favourite goalie (Jaroslav Halak) versus the reigning champs Kings (with Thomas Hickey facing the team who had given up on him, and the best playoff goalie of the current era in Jonathan Quick)
But as a fan of the game itself, I'll have fun watching all four rounds no matter what, and the Ducks once again promise to be worth sleeping 4 hours less every other night, thanks to the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Emerson Etem. (Unless the Habs snag him now that I've brought it to their attention).

Which brings me to this card, featuring a head shot of Etem wearing the Ducks' black (then-alternate, now-home) uniform, from Panini's 2013-14 Crown Royale set (card #HT-EE of the Heirs To The Throne sub-set, featuring a matching event-worn ''material'' swatch:

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