OK so we like to show off when we are right on about a player so excuse us while we take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for being proven right. But first we have to share the love from our friends in the Czech Republic:
"Told You So ;-)"
Now that everyone has finished patting themselves on the back here is the bigger story. The Medicine Hat Tigers let the Calgary Hitmen know that they intend on putting up a heck of a fight in their 2nd round WHL series.
The Tigers waited until the 3rd period of Game 3 before they turned up the heat and came from down 2-0 to earn a 4-3 overtime win over the Hitmen. The win brings the Tigers right back into the series trailing 2-1.
Kundratek did exactly as we said he needed to do and he did it with a nice exclamation point by setting up Emerson Etem for the game winner at 8:26 of the first overtime period. For Kundratek it capped off a very solid performance as he was a +3 to go along with his game winning assists.
It is exactly the kind of performance we need to see Kundratek do to help his chances of becoming a future Ranger. We still believe of all the Ranger's defensive prospects that Kundratek with his passing skills alone remains the ideal defender for the John Tortorella system.
While Michael Del Zotto is going to be the offensive leader on the blueline; Kundratek is going to be one of the better 2 way defenders who will help chip in at both ends of the ice. Kundratek has been used by the Tigers in all situations and it is a great sign to finally see the maturity in his game.
We said the other night that it looked Calgary was going to be too much to handle and at least in Game 3 we were proven wrong. We hope to remain wrong for another 3 Tiger wins.
If you haven't noticed but in the upper right corner we are now tracking the current Ranger draft pick status along with who is viewed as one of the best prospects for that slot. What it does not mean is that player is who would be the best possible pick at that spot.
Our early projections believe that the number one need that the Rangers have in the entire system is a Top 6 scorer who can play on the right side.
The Rangers have played themselves out of the Nino Niederreiter sweepstakes but this young man on the left is not a bad second prize. His name is Emerson Etem and he just might be the best prospect that you have never heard of.
Etem is a 6' 194 goal scoring machine out of Long Beach California and yes you read that right California. If where he comes from makes you wonder then let us reassure you that this 17 year old scored 37 goals in his WHL rookie season.
Etem is also a product of the US National Training and Development program where he play in on Under-17 part of the program. We could just talk away about him but here is some video courtesy of the WHL on Etem.
Etem needs some work still but he doesn't even turn 18 until 9 days before the 2010 NHL draft. And one last thing about Etem to consider is that he is playing in one of the toughest conferences in the WHL; he is part of the same program (the Medicine Hat Tigers) that produces the 2 players who had an impact in the Ranger's loss against the Sabres.
Willie Desjardins was Team Canada's coach in the last WJC and he knows exactly how to prepare a prospect for the NHL. Like we said Etem would be a nice second prize in the NHL draft.
(Etem and Kundratek courtesy of the Medicine Hat Tigers)