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Emerson Etem makes a case to remain in the Rangers lineup

Bobby Bevilacqua

emerson etem full body 10-25

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With Viktor Stalberg injured, Emerson Etem really opened some eyes with his performance against the Calgary Flames.

Despite not necessarily being known for his defense, Etem was placed onto the fourth line alongside Dominic Moore and Jarret Stoll, tasked with playing tough minutes and not necessarily going on the attack too often.

In fact, Emerson Etem didn’t start any of his even strength shifts in the offensive zone. Every time he took the ice, he started in the neutral zone or backed up in the Rangers zone. Despite this, Etem still managed to lead all Rangers in even strength corsi with a +8.

That’s really impressive. Generally, fourth liners and defensive defenseman are closer to neutral or they have a negative corsi because they’re always backed up in their own zone and playing defense. To see Etem finish +8 and lead all Rangers skaters is very encouraging.

Unlike his first game against the Canadiens, Etem was much more noticeable against Calgary, creating a few really good chances and nearly scoring twice. His redirection off of Jarret Stoll’s feed went just wide early in the game, and Jonas Hiller made a fantastic pad stop to deny Etem before Kevin Klein scored his goal.

Etem did pick up the primary assist on Dan Girardj’s goal, his first point as a Ranger. Overall, it was a pretty successful night for him, and he filled in very well for Viktor Stalberg.

If Stalberg is still dealing with his injury on Friday, Etem will be back in the lineup and I’m sure he’ll do just fine. But if Stalberg is healthy, Vigneault may want to work on trying to get him in the lineup somewhere else.

I’m a really big fan of Viktor Stalberg, and he shouldn’t be the healthy scratch. He’s like a poor man’s Chris Kreider (although he has more points than Krieder). His speed is underrated, he’s excellent when it comes to pressing and forechecking, and Stalberg’s defensive game is a huge asset.

I want to see Emerson Etem get a chance in a more offensive role, perhaps on the third line. A line of JT Miller or Oscar Lindberg and Kevin Hayes with Etem on the wing could be really effective, and he would be able to get offensive zone starts. He’d be complemented by a great playmaker in Kevin Hayes too, which would increase his potential for production.

By putting Jesper Fast in Jarret Stoll’s spot, you’d create an extremely responsible fourth line of Stalberg-Moore-Fast, one with the potential for offensive production from the wings. Etem would get a chance to play in the attacking third more often, and either JT Miller or Oscar Lindberg would get a chance on the second line.

There really doesn’t seem to be any downfalls by making this move. Stalberg comes back into the lineup, Fast re-joins Dom Moore on the fourth line, someone gets a shot on the second line and Emerson Etem remains in the lineup.

Even if it’s for one game, I’d like to see Vigneault try this.

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Posted on October 26, 2015, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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