Corey Emmerton is only 22 years old. He was Detroit's first selection(41st overall) in the second round during the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He managed a respectable 35 points during his rookie season with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2008-2009, an output that he barely improved on during his second season in the AHL. Whether his role shifted, or he played better defensively - it isn't likely that 12 goals and 37 points with Griffs is going to get you into the winged wheel. Just hear what Ken Holland told RedWingsCentral.com about Emmerton:
"He needs a good year in the American League. It's hard to set your sights on the NHL when you are an average American League player. The biggest thing is (to) be better this year than you were last year. We still like him, though, and we still think he's a prospect." --Ken Holland
That has to be a shot right between the eyes of a young kid like Emmerton. But sometimes, that may be the only way to reach a player. Emmerton who had previously been a "Black Ace" for the Red Wings come play-off time before, was not invited to become so this past season.
"It was disappointing, but at the same time as bad as it sounds, I didn't want to go. It's a great experience and you want to be part of that but at the same time I didn't really earn it."--Corey Emmerton
Instead of moping about his Black Ace shun, Emmerton decided to get right to work on his off-season workouts:
"I knew I had a lot to work on and I pretty much went right home and I got down to business in the gym. I didn't really take any time off. When the season ended I went home and I took a step back. I really thought to myself, 'What do I need to do to better myself to be the point-producer I was in junior?' One of the things I thought back to was in junior I shot the puck a lot more. I lost a little bit of confidence in my shot so I concentrated on making it harder and quicker this summer."--Corey Emmerton
Let's hope he utilizes that shot - for his sake. Admittedly, Emmerton was focusing on his defensive play too much last season. Being responsible defensively is a good thing - don't get me wrong - but when you are expected to produce and you're taking yourself out of being in position to provide offense...well then you may have a problem.
Emmerton, like several other players in Detroit's system, is entering into the final year of his current contract. As a result, he really needs to step up his game in 2010-2011 season or risk losing his spot in Detroit's organ-i-zation.