Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri will team up for the first time since Ducks training camp, as both made the final roster for Team USA at the World Junior championships.
Etem and Palmieri both had strong showings in two pre-tournament exhibitions for the U.S. –an overtime loss to Rensselaer on Sunday and a shootout loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Palmieri was a lock to make the team after he scored both regulation goals Tuesday night. Etem scored a goal Sunday and had several more scoring chances against the Czechs, though he couldn’t convert.
Two more Ducks prospects are slated to compete in the WJCs.
Defenseman Sami Vatanen, a fourth-round draft pick in 2009, will captain Team Finland. He’ll probably play a lot, too. The 19-year-old leads the SM-Liiga – the top Finnish league – in plus-minus rating. Vatanen also has 21 points in 32 games, averaging over 22 minutes a game for the league-leading team, JYP Jyvskyl.
Igor Bobkov, a third-round pick in 2009, could be the top goalie for Team Russia. The 6-foot-6 19-year-old has struggled in his first season in North America. He’s been relegated to backup duties with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, going 1-4 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .857 save percentage.
Check out tomorrow’s editions for a full feature on Etem, a native of Long Beach.