Puck Daddy put out a nice feature on Emerson Etem today.:
With Hall and Seguin expected to go 1 & 2, and the run on defensemen that's predicted to follow, the Rangers will most likely find themselves forced to choose between two quality right wingers when their name is called. This is fortunate considering we lack more depth at RW than any other position. While Niederreiter and Connolly are the standouts at RW (in that order), I don't see either of them in a Rangers uniform unless we trade up during the draft.
No, Etem and Skinner are going to be the right wingers available come our 10th pick, and I'm not buying Skinner's hype. His stats line is impressive, but there's a reason Central Scouting has him ranked at 34. Skinner is a sub-par skater, and while he's more than passable by OHL standards it won't fly in the NHL. I'm baffled at how this can be true of a once nationally-ranked figure skater, and it raises a red flag in my mind that skating's an area Skinner's not all that concerned with. From what I've read, Skinner is adept at staying on his feet and is agile in traffic, but he lacks the speed to match. Based on recent draft picks Kreider, Werek, and Borque, the Rangers are attempting to assemble a team with a quickness on the ice that Skinner simply lacks. Etem, who has been hailed for his ability to handle the puck at his impressive pace, fits into this picture in a way Skinner never will.
In addition to his quickness, Etem has the mental toughness Torts values so highly. I love his quote at the end of the article:
"It's not about the mock drafts or even this draft. It's about five years from now, and who the best players are coming out of this draft. That's my goal: To be the best player coming out of this draft in five years."
This kid's a winner, pure and simple. Skinner had an impressive showing at the Combine, but Etem's was better. Etem is a more capable skater, has more size, and most importantly more drive. Unfortunately, I feel other teams are starting to realize this. While trading down and nabbing Etem was once a viable option, now he and Skinner will probably both go between 10 & 15 easy. Trading down is not a risk I'm willing to take.
Maybe, I'm over-analyzing things. Maybe Nino or Brett will still be around come the 10th pick, and all this was for naught. I hope that's the case. But if not, I think Etem's really our guy. If you don't read the article, at least check out the video clips. Yeah, they're highlight reels, but they really illustrate his quickness and mental toughness. If nothing else, they'll get you pumped for Friday's 1st Round.