The two newest Ducks, Cam Fowler and Emerson Etem are two entirely different hockey players who will be linked forever by the historic 2010 Entry Draft. Fowler was Anaheim’s 12th pick and Etem went 29th.
A record-tying 10 U.S.-born players were selected in the first round, matching the total of 2006 and 2007. A record two of them were from California, including the Long Beach native Etem.
Considering how much of a steal Fowler was considered for the Ducks at No. 12, it’s remarkable to think that Etem might have actually overshadowed him. Some were projecting Fowler as high as third overall, but the Columbus Blue Jackets surprised everyone by selecting Ryan Johansen with the fourth overall pick, setting off a run on forwards. With Fowler still on the board for the Ducks, general manager Bob Murray looked like a kid on Christmas when he announced he was selecting the prized defenseman.
But Etem and Gardena native Beau Bennett (drafted 20th overall by the
Penguins) were the people’s choice in Staples Center. The crowd of
11,052 included plenty of friends and family of the two local kids.
knew (the Ducks) had some interest in me,” Etem said. “I probably think
they thought they
weren’t going to be able to get me, and same for me. But like I said, I
couldn’t be happier.”
Part of the reason for Etem’s glee was that he, like Fowler, waited
longer than expected to hear his name called. Some mock drafts had the right wing
projected in the 10-15 range. Etem did a lot of waiting, “and more
waiting after that,” he said.
me it doesn’t matter if I was in the Top 10, Top 20, doesn’t matter to
me. Everybody gets the same opportunity.”
Etem and Fowler are actually good friends, having spent time together in the U.S. National Program. Fowler is also friends with Kyle Palmieri, one of two first-round picks by the Ducks in last year’s draft.
While Etem arrives as the better-known quantity to local fans, Fowler is more likely to arrive in Anaheim next season.
“It’s a goal I’ve set for myself to try to
play next year,” he said. “But I’ve got to go into training camp and prove
myself. I’ve got to continue to develop and get stronger. But I’m
definitely going to give it a great effort and try to crack the lineup.”
The organization figures to be conscious of the pressure that might be heaped on Fowler. By coincidence, the 18-year-old joins the organization only three days after legendary defenseman and team captain Scott Niedermayer announced his retirement. Niedermayer, who is staying on as a front-office adviser, shook Fowler’s hand on the draft stage.
just said congratulations, and I was like ‘Oh my God, it’s Scott
Niedermayer,’ and the rest blocked out there from there,” Fowler said. “But I told him
it’s a huge honor and hopefully I can get to talk to him more and pick
his brain about things.”
In a tongue-biting moment, Fowler said that one of the main reasons he was attracted to Anaheim was assistant coach Newell Brown. Fowler took part in one of Brown’s development camps and lived with him the entire week. When told that Brown’s contract was not renewed by the Ducks this week, Fowler didn’t hide his disappointment.
“I think it’s a big loss for the Ducks,” he said, “and I’m really sorry to hear that, that’s for sure.”