FanPost

The Curious Case of Emerson Etem

There is very little question that Etem has changed some ducks fans minds this season. His work on the penalty kill has been fantastic, and arguably one of the key reasons that particular facet of the ducks game has turned around from the start of the season.

"One of the best skaters outside of the NHL, Etem not only uses his speed to score, but also uses it to aggressively forecheck and pressure the opposition into making mistakes." – Hockeyfuture

This speed, has been shown on multiple occasions. It has however opened up the door regarding greater even strength time on ice and even power play duties. This being the case, I shall delve into the mystery of Etem’s banishment to the depths of the 4th line, starting with linemates (because im researching hockey physiology currently and i don’t think i can handle looking at it anymore)

The Line Mates

Etem is often considered to be banished to the 4th line, and has line mates consisting of players like Staubitz. A quick search of his regular line mates surprised me. Keep in mind that each is a fairly small sample size, which has been dictated by Etem only playing approximately 10 minutes a night, and Bruce’s line mashing.

TOI Together

G/60

A1/60

A2/60

P/60

O-zone start

Zone Differential

Penalty Differential

Steckel

107.33

0.22

0.88

0.44

1.55

39.9

2.6

0.2

Selanne

57.06

0.9

0.6

0.2

1.69

53.7

-6.4

0.1

Holland

55.49

0.53

0.53

0

1.05

54.3

-0.5

-0.2

Cogliano

49.29

1.03

0.56

0.37

1.97

44.8

2.6

0.4

Bonino

49.15

0.7

0.88

0.18

1.76

52.9

-7.4

-0.1

Winnik

48.17

0.54

0.45

0.72

1.71

41.4

5.1

-0.2

Beleskey

45.56

0.77

0.52

0.13

1.42

49.6

-2.8

-0.9

Palmieri

43.3

1.05

0.79

0.53

2.37

53.6

-5.1

0.6

Maroon

40.24

0.99

0.49

0

1.48

63.3

-18.7

1

Table 1. general offensive categories for Emerson Etem’s most regular line mates. The blue colours signify the top 6 players on the Anaheim roster in that category, going from light (better) to dark blue (worse).

Steckel is obviously the player he spends most time with, and he is primarily considered an defensive player, who is sent on for the tough FO’s in our own zone. His zone start numbers do indicate that this is indeed the case. However, Steckel does help to drive the play forward, and is actually 3rd on the team for first assists. This qualitatively makes sense as it has seemed like Steckel has provided some good opportunities for Etem (and Palmieri) since he’s arrived. While this table doesn’t show it, Steckel is also 7th on the team for secondary assists. Together this might suggest that Steckel has under-appreciated playmaking abilities. This should begin to put to bed the rationale that Etem is the playmaker and finisher on his line.

Holland, Winnik, Beleskey, Palmieri and Maroon have all rated fairly highly in the assist categories per minutes of play, with Winnik, Selanne, Palmieri and Cogliano all rate in the top 10 on this team overall. While this doesn’t signify that Etem plays with brilliant playmakers, it does suggest that the players on the ice with him most often are capable of distributing the puck into scoring areas.

In addition to playing with some ok playmakers, Etem also has the opportunity to play with some solid scorers. Selanne is obviously an old legend, even though hes fallen on tough times. However players like Palmieri and Cogliano have been pretty hot this year in the scoring department. Of the players Etem plays most with 6 are in the top 10 on the ducks in terms of goal scoring, both at even strength as well as overall. Etem does in fact come in at 9th overall on A1/60, so he does show some aptitude for dishing the puck, but this is slightly surpressed from other players whos spots he might take.

Speaking of which...

The Competition

When discussing Etem, his differing role to Palmieri is often brought up. In addition to this Chicago’s Saad is having a lights out season on the leagues best team, Daniel thought they were a possible comparison, so ive picked it up and carried it.

TOI

G/60

A1/60

A2/60

P/60

Shots

Sh%

On SH%

GWG

Etem

10.13

0.47

0.62

0.16

1.25

48

6.3

8.28

0

Palmieri

10.87

1.05

0.79

0.53

2.37

92

10.9

10.05

5

Saad

13.5

0.87

1.06

0.29

2.22

98

10.2

9.62

2

Table 2. Offensive numbers of Etems immediate competition and probably ROY (he has to right??)

Etem has been consistently praised for his shot, which netted him 61 goals in junior hockey. This however hasn’t translated to the NHL as yet, with his pedestrian 6.3% shooting average. This actually drags down the on-ice shooting percentages of his linemates, suggesting that Etem either hasn’t developed an NHL calibre shot yet, or he is making poor decisions and shooting easy to stop shots.

He rips off 1.5 shots per game, is slightly surpressed from Palmieri’s 2.2, and Saad’s 2.1 per game. Considering that Etem commence most of his starts in the offensive zone, with our best face-off man, and as discussed our third best assist per 60 guy I find Etems lack of shooting consistent with a guy who isn’t confident he can score. Saad and Palmieri arguably play the most with two of the best pivots in the game, and the argument can be made that, that alone is worth an extra shot a game. It does seem that Palmier and Saad both are making the most of their opportunities and are striking at a pretty normal level of around 10%. Palmieri in particular has shown the ability to score when needed, with half of his goals being game winners.

Corsi On

Rel Corsi

QoT

Corsi Rel ToC

QoC

O-zone start

Zone Differential

Penalty Differential

BS

Hits

Etem

-10.13

-6.9

-0.302

-2.23

-0.1

55.1

-4.9

0.2

20

43

Palmieri

-0.79

3.7

-0.097

-0.037

-0.035

53.6

-5.1

0.6

10

48

Saad

15.07

9

0.428

2.076

0.104

56.5

-5.1

0.6

12

41

Table 3. Defensive, and possession driven numbers

I don’t particularly want to look into defensive area’s, however i think that the poor corsi and the high blocked shots numbers, indicate that Etems line cannot hold onto the puck. This situation isn’t unique, and applies to most of the forwards on the ducks however it is not an indication that someone deserves more minutes. Its possible however to consider that Etems shots per game, is actually relatively high when compared to the time in possession of the puck.

From a numbers perspective I don’t see a reason to give Etem more minutes at the expense of one of the other top 6 wingers. Perry, Ryan and Selanne are all proven commodities and wont be surplanted by anyone. Palmieri is often placed in top 6 minutes has performed admirably, and when compared to Saad, probably deserves more minutes than he is currently getting as well. Additionally, Palmieri has improved the CF% of most players he plays with (with the exception of Getzlaf and Perry), suggesting that he makes players around him better. This same argument cannot be made for Etem, who has about a 50/50 strike rate in this metric.

The Case for Conditioning

Im actually pretty bored of writing this, but ill push on and make it short and sweet.

In effect this is guess work as i have no idea what the training load for each player is, nor the actual training that they do. However this is my world, so consider it an educated guess.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to increases in injury rates. The figure below is from an article published in 2010 in professional rugby players. Its not ground breaking in suggesting that more work = more injuries, but I do think it shows an interesting trend going towards more work at different times of the year. You’ll notice that late competition phases (such as right now for the hockey season), requires less to get injured. How this relates to Etem is simply that its late season, and the workload he would get with extra minutes, might push him into a dangerous zone with regards to injury. You’ll notice with total time on ice, that the majority of our young players have gotten approximately 10 minutes or less a game. I would think that these players are getting more coaching than the older players that may know more about hockey, or are better conditioned.

It is pretty well established that older players have a stronger base from which to work in terms of conditioning. They’ve don’t it for years, so they don’t tend to fall away as much in times where training is scarce. This is not true of younger players. Furthermore, players like Etem might require more on-ice coaching, learning systems or even simple skills like shooting. All these things go in to total weekly load. This often gets lost when discussing conditioning, shooting, passing, skating are all repetitive movements that the conditioning staff have to monitor and plan into the players schedule.

 photo yimg-1097816248-101--1172650156_zpsb329f30e.jpg

Figure 1. Training load vs injury likelihood.

When evaluating whether Etem is physically ready to play more minutes, its worth asking what the risk factors for injury are.

Firstly consider that previous injury is a huge factor in injury reoccurance. If we want Etem to be a long term player in this league, preventing this is a great first step. For example

"Orchard reported that an injury sustained within the last eight weeks increased the risk of sustaining a muscle strain to the same location for the hamstrings (RR = 6.33), quadriceps (RR = 15.61), and calf muscles (RR = 8.94). Likewise, injuries sustained outside of an eight week time interval resulted in an increased risk of sustaining muscle strains at the same location for the hamstrings (RR = 2.42), quadriceps (RR = 3.67), and calf (RR = 4.28)."

So in looking at risk factors, increasing the level of competition is often cited as a potential injury red flag. So consider that Etem is a rookie in the NHL, having come straight from junior. He skipped playing any league against grown men, and moved into the top competition going. Thats tough. While the intensity and quality of game play is attempted to be replicated in scrimmages, this isn’t usually possible.

"There is general consensus in the literature that the incidence of injury is greater during competition than practice. This finding suggests that athletes may be more prone to aggressive, risk taking behaviours during competition, which may in turn increase the potential for injury"

Fatigue is also a huge precursor to injury, as diminished aerobic fitness may cause fatigue

leading to a reduction in the protective effect of musculature on skeletal structures. This effects Etem because he plays on the penalty kill. I posted this in another thread but

"The in-game data shows values ranging between 4.4 to 13.7 mmol.L-1, with a mean of 8.15 (standard deviation of 2.72) mmol.L-1. Furthermore, the in-game research highlighted that the highest blood lactate values were recorded in players on the ice during a 2-minute section of play where they were one man down (penalty kill). This also corresponded with the longest continuous work intervals (81 seconds). Small sample sizes have not allowed for regression analysis with in-game blood lactate data. However, descriptive statistics have shown an effect between longer work times and increased blood lactate recordings. This is in line with other researchers findings with regards to blood lactate."

So Etem is already working hard per game, and due to his age and training background is less likely to be as conditioned as a Cogliano, or a Koivu, who get more even strength minutes.

Additionally Etem is a pretty solid young guy. Body size has been analysed in risk factor studies in a number of ways including height and weight, lean muscle mass, body fat%, Quetelet index, and mass moment of inertia. These variables have been considered as risk factors for injury because an increase in any one produces a proportional increase in the forces that articular, ligamentous, and muscular structures must resist. While this isn’t likely to inhibit him long term, at a relatively young age it might.

Additionally training based variables such as Flexibility, range of motion, postural control, balance and stability, strength, can all affect the rates of injury (Can you guess i got bored of this and wanted it to end?).

In conclusion, i think the team is handling Etem correctly, and while the Ducks way might not be the NHL way, there is good science behind bringing a longer term player along slowly. It would be my expectation that Etem receives an increased role in the next few years, and should he earn it, be one of our top players.

This article is user-generated. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Anaheim Calling. Please do not link this article as representative of Anaheim Calling content or viewpoints . . . unless it's <em>really</em> really good.

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