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NHL Draft History – 29th Pick Overall

Welcome to a brand new series here at The Hockey Writers called “Road to the Draft.” In this series, our draft contributors will count down from 32nd overall all the way to 1st overall and revisit each player taken with that pick between 2010 and 2020.

The goal of this series is to reflect on some of the biggest steals and some of the biggest busts taken in the first round over the past ten years, as well as to shine a light on some players who could potentially see themselves taken with the corresponding pick at the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.

Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide

After delving into the 32nd, 31st, and 30th overall picks of the last decade, we continue the countdown with the 29th overall pick. Like the 30th pick, this selection has been a first-round pick for many years. The last time it wasn’t was back in 1999 when Michal Sivek was chosen by the Washington Capitals. When the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets entered the league in the year 2000, the 29th and 30th picks were upgraded from the second round to the first.

Over the last decade, the 29th pick has been largely dominated by forwards with only three defencemen a part of the festivities. To date, the only two players that have not seen a game in the NHL are the 2019 and 2020 picks, which is understandable since they are still at the beginning of their hockey journey.

2010 – Emerson Etem (RW, Anaheim Ducks)

Hailing from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Emerson Etem just knew how to score goals. Over the course of his three-year career, he scored 143 goals in 202 games, including a career-high 61 goals and 107 points in his final season before turning pro with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch in 2012. It was that type of goal-scoring potential that led the Anaheim Ducks to select him 29th overall in 2010.

Emerson Etem, Norfolk Admirals (Stat19 @ Flickr)

Unfortunately, Etem never realized that potential in the NHL. In fact, he only ever hit a career-high of seven goals and 12 points when he split his time with the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks during the 2015-16 season. After stints with the Ducks, and the aforementioned Rangers and Canucks, he played sparingly in the AHL and Swiss League before dominating the WMHL with the Cabri Bulldogs where he accumulated a staggering 14 goals and 47 points in 11 regular season games and another 13 points in two playoff games. He is now the GM, head coach, and franchise owner of the USPHL Premier’s Long Beach Shredders.

2011 – Nicklas Jensen (LW, Vancouver Canucks)

Like his 2010 counterpart, Nicklas Jensen was a goal-scoring machine coming out of the junior leagues. Playing for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, he racked up 54 goals and 116 points in 118 games and was more than a point-per-game player on the international stage, where he represented Team Denmark. The slick Dane had teams drooling over his combination of size, speed and NHL-ready shot, including the Canucks, who ended up drafting him 29th overall.

Jensen was one of the Canucks’ top prospects for a number of years and had fans excited to see what he could do at the NHL level. After stints with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and Elitserien’s AIK, he made his NHL debut with the Canucks during the 2012-13 season. Then, on the heels of a strong start to the 2013-14 campaign with the Utica Comets, he played a career-high 17 games where he scored his first NHL goal and showed some chemistry with two of the best Canucks of all time, the Sedin twins. Of course, that got fans giddy for what the future could bring.