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Long Beach's Emerson Etem signs three-year deal with the Ducks

May 19, 2011 |  4:14 pm

L4e0t6nc In less time than it used to take Emerson Etem to rollerblade and ride public transit from his Long Beach home to Venice for his summer hockey workouts he signed an entry-level contract with the Ducks.

The fleet right wing, chosen 29th overall by the Ducks in the 2010 NHL entry draft, agreed Thursday to a three-year deal that will pay him $900,000 a year in the NHL and $67,500 in the American Hockey League. Only two California-born and trained players have been selected in an earlier spot in the NHL draft: Jonathon Blum of Rancho Santa Margarita was chosen 23rd by Nashville in 2007 and Beau Bennett of Gardena was selected 20th by Pittsburgh last year.

Etem, who had 45 goals and 80 points for Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League last season, said it took only about an hour for him and his agent, Eustace King, to settle on terms with the Ducks.

“It was pretty crazy. I wasn’t really expecting it to happen this quick,” Etem said. “I’m pretty excited, pretty stoked.”

He has already started training for next season with T.R. Goodman, the workout guru who works with an array of NHL players. But Etem’s days of rollerblading and traveling 2½ hours by bus and train are over.

“I’ve got a car now,” he said.

He also has a more complete game, he believes, and should have a better chance of sticking with the Ducks next season.

“I think every year it gets more and more realistic,” he said. “Last year I had an open mind. There weren’t many spots open. Every year you have to go in with a mind-set knowing and wanting to make the team. And that’s what I did last year and it’s no different this year.

“You train harder and harder every summer. I feel like I’m mentally and physically stronger. Going back to Medicine Hat was a great opportunity for me to build a more overall and rounded game and I think I did that. I started to finish my checks. I got in my first fight at the end of the year.… A couple different pieces kind of put the icing on the cake for the season and got me ready for what’s ahead.”

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-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Emerson Etem. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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