Etem, McColgan, Maxwell headline California’s WHL ties in ’11-12

It’s too early to tell how the Anaheim Ducks’ offense will shape up this season, but should goals become scarce the Ducks might want to re-think sending California prospect Emerson Etem back to junior.

Etem (Long Beach) was a first-round pick in 2010 and a late camp cut this season. No one questions his speed or will to win, nor should they question his offensive ability after the tear he is on for the Medicine Hat Tigers thus far.

Etem was selected the WHL’s Player of the Week after scoring six goals and adding an assist in three games this past weekend. Through eight games, he has 13 goals, which leads the Dub by five. His 17 points (13-4) are one off the league lead.

Etem headlines a group of 17 players with California ties in the Dub this season.

The group is composed of two goalies (Kelowna’s Adam Brown, 91, and Tri-City’s Eric Comrie, 95); six defensemen and nine forwards.

By birth year, there are five 95s, two 94s, one 93, four 92s and five 91s.

Here is a team-by-team look at California’s prospects:

High-scoring left wing Tyler Maxwell (91), who attended training camp with the Minnesota Wild, returns for Everett. … Brown is joined in Kelowna by right wing Shane McColgan (93), a fifth-round pick of the New York Rangers in June’s NHL Entry Draft. McColgan has been a point-per-game player the past two seasons and performed so well at prospect camp that the Rangers invited him to their main camp. … Etem is joined by veteran defeneseman Matthew Konan (91), a previous invitee to Ducks camps, in Medicine Hat.

Portland’s roster includes left wing Tyler Parker (92), and defensemen Cody Castro (92) and William Wrenn (91), a 2009 San Jose Sharks pick who played for the LA Selects. Wrenn is the team’s captain. The Winter Hawks could have had a third California d-man, but Taylor Aronson, a 2010 third-round pick of the Nashville Predators, made Milwaukee of the AHL.

A third California native made Portland, center Chase De Leo, who like Comrie is part of a strong group of 95s from the state. That group also includes Tri-City center Brian Williams, Victoria left wing Taylor Crunk and Prince George defenseman Michael Mylchreest.

The 94s, who are eligible for next June’s entry draft, are Kamloops right wing Chase Souto and Spokane center Liam Stewart.

Other 92s in the Dub include a pair of defensemen, Tyler Vanscourt with Prince Albert and Brandon Underwood with Regina.

Next: A look at California’s NCAA Division I players

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2010 Draft Prospects from California

This is from research I did for a story that appeared in the May issue of California Rubber Hockey Magazine.

The Bible of hockey has spoken, and it spoke favorably of California’s prospects for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Three players with ties to the state are among the top 54 prospects in The Hockey News’ annual Draft Preview issue, which hit newstands and mailboxes this past week.

The three are forwards Emerson Etem (Long Beach), Beau Bennett (Gardena) and Jason Zucker (LA Selects).

Etem is the publication’s 17th-ranked prospect, Bennett its 35th and Zucker its 54th.

Etem was the eighth ranked North American skater by the NHL Central Scouting Service in its final rankings after leading all Western Hockey League rookies with 37 goals (and 65 points) in 72 games for Medicine Hat. The 6-foot, 194-pound right wing played with LA Hockey’s ’92 birth year teams as well as the Jr. Ice Dogs.

Bennett led the BCHL in scoring as a rookie with 120 points (41 goals, 79 assists) in 56 games for Penticton. He was ranked 32nd by CSS. The 6-1, 180-pounder played for the Selects and the LA Jr. Kings.

Zucker was ranked 51st by CSS after helping Team USA win the World Jr. Championship. He spent the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. The 5-10, 175-pound is from Las Vegas, but spent a couple of seasons playing for LA Hockey.

Here is a look at some other draft-eligible prospects from California:

C Jake Fallon (former LAHC player), Indiana of USHL
CSS Rank: 68
Key stats: The 5-10, 180-pounder split time between USNTDP U-18 team and Indiana this season

D Taylor Aronson (Placentia), Portland of the WHL
CSS Rank: 88
Key stats: The 6-1, 197-pounder had 31 points in 71 games to go with a plus-13 after a minor career with the Jr. Kings, California Wave, California Stars and Ontario Senators

D Brandon Underwood (San Marcos), Kamloops of WHL
CSS Rank: 196
Key stats: The 6-3, 210-pound former LA Jr. King and California Wave player had five points, but 128 PIMs

Others to watch
G Adam Brown (Yorba Linda), Kelowna of the WHL
Key stats: The 5-10, 165-pound stopper put together a 31-18-1-4 record with a .905 save percentage in his first full season as a starter. His six shutouts were third in the WHL, as were his 59 games played, and his 31 wins were sixth most.

F Cory Kane (Irvine), Vernon of BCHL
Key stats: The 6-3, 190-pounder had a career-high 55 points (22-33) in 60 games … has committed to Ferris State

D Matthew Konan (Tustin), Medicine Hat of WHL
Key stats: The 6-3, 182-pound blueliner had a career-high 20 points (5-15) and an impressive plus-24

C Tyler Maxwell (Manhattan Beach), Everett of WHL
Key stats: The 5-9, 179-pounder broke out with 69 points (33-36) in 72 games in his second WHL season

F Shane Sooth (Canyon Country), Texas of the NAHL
Key Stats: The 6-foot, 187-pounder finished the season with 8 points (2-6) in 12 NAHL games.

Many California hockey alumni updates

My Alumni Report on http://www.calirubber.com this week spotlights several college and junior players from the state who are rising up the scoring charts in their respective leagues.

Chief among them are Ryan Lasch, Rhett Rakhshani, Chris Margott, Casey Wellman, Laura Veharanta and Kristi Kehoe in the NCAA; and NAHLers such as Austin Block and Bryon Paulazzo and USHLers such as Brandon Richardson and Matt Leitner.

I also take a closer look at just how much of an impact Californians are making in the WHL (huge). Not only are players such as Colin Long, CJ Stretch, Cameron Cepek and Jonathon Blum contributing points, but those for in particular are captains or assistant captains for their teams. And they are far from the only ones making waves in Canada, others include Mitch Wahl, Shane Harper and Tyler Maxwell.

You can read the Alumni Report here or hop over to http://www.calirubber.come

California hockey alumni report

My latest alumni report on California hockey players is posted on http://www.calirubber.com

Click here to go right to the story.

Among the highlights:

California players – particularly Vancouver defenseman Jonathon Blum and Kelowna center Colin Long – continue to dominate in the WHL. And those two and others, such as Spokane’s Mitch Wahl, Kamloops’ CJ Stretch and Everett’s Shane Harper, have some company. Rookie Tyler Maxwell is scoring at almost a point-per-game clip.

Bobby Ryan’s return to the NHL has been very solid, and read how Richard Park helped sink the Canadiens.

Matt Ford got his first AHL goal last week.

All this and more … in one place!

California hockey alumni update

My most recent California hockey alumni update is posted on http://www.calirubber.com

Please click here for the story.

Among this week’s highlights:

  • Numerous California natives are tearing up the ranks of NCAA women’s hockey, including Providence freshman Laura Veharanta of La Verne and Northeastern sophomore Kristi Kehoe of Bakersfield.
  • Bobby Ryan has been called up by the Ducks.
  • Defenseman Garrett Stafford of Los Angeles had a four-point week for Grand Rapids of the AHL.
  • And Tyler Maxwell of Manhattan Beach had a four-point game at Moose Jaw in WHL play.