Fresh Faces: Cory Emmerton
Today’s edition of Fresh Faces will look at young Red Wing forward Cory Emmerton. The 23 year old from St. Thomas, Ontario is likely celebrating tonight after being named to the teams 23 man active roster yesterday. Emmerton has had three steady years in the AHL and played in two NHL games last season scoring once. Had the left winger/center not been chosen, he would have had to clear waivers and most certainly have been picked up by another team.
Emmerton had plenty to be nervous about early this preseason, with the emergence of Gustav Nyquist, the rebirth of Fabian Brunnstrom, and the stiff competition of Jan Mursak and NHL veterans Ryan Johnson and Chris Conner. However, Johnson and Conner failed to make an impression, Mursak fractured his ankle, and Nyquist (only a year out of college at Maine) was sent back to Grand Rapids for more polishing. Emmerton played in a team high seven games this preseason, but the Wings know what they are getting with the 6’0″ 190lbs forward.
Emmerton has averaged 11 goals and 25 assists in his three seasons in Grand Rapids. Coach Mike Babcock was happy with his effort this summer, “He won battles, really got stronger in the faceoff circle and played better,” Babcock said. “I played him four games in five nights to finish (the preseason), just to figure it all out, see what he was made of, and I thought he responded real well.”
Emmerton knew that his time to make the team was now or never. “I didn’t come into this season of the mind frame that I deserve that spot,” he said. “I’ve been kind of going through the system the last few years. I just knew coming in that this is a critical point in my career to take that next step.”
Knowing the nature of the treacherous 82 game NHL season, it is safe to assume that injury will propel Emmerton into the fourth line early and often this season. Until then, he’ll battle with Brunnstrom and veteran forwards Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, and Jiri Hudler.
Fun fact: Emmerton is from the same hometown as San Jose Shark Joe Thorton and famous actress Rachel McAdams.