He may have been undrafted, but it certainly didn’t mean he was unwanted. Ten days after not being selected in the 2013 National Hockey League’s Entry Draft, St. John’s native Kurt Etchegary nevertheless makes his first step towards a big-league career when he hits the ice at the Detroit Red Wing’ summer camp, beginning today in Traverse City, Mich.
The Red Wings were one of NHL several teams that contacted Etchegary immediately after the draft in Newark, N.J., to express interest in offering him a tryout. That was pretty easy to do, since Etchegary was present in the stands at the Prudential Center along with more than a dozen family members. They had travelled to Newark with some confidence because the expectations were for the 18-year-old forward and member of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts to be as high as a third-round pick in the seventh round draft.
He had been ranked 72nd overall among North American by NHL Central Scouting, but was seen as someone whose stock has gone up. In fact, a story in USA Today listed Etchegary as one of five “risers” heading into the June draft.
It was only after the draft the Etchegary camp realized what might have went wrong, why his name wasn’t called out.
A story by Gilles Moffet in the Le Journal de Quebec provided some details.
It was a health-related issue, but not one about the arthroscopic hip surgery that caused him to miss three months of last season.
It turns out, that during the NHL Combine in Toronto, tests had revealed an inflammation near Etchegary’s heart, a problem he says came from a late-season rib injury. Clubs interested in him wanted confirmation in the form of a medical clearance, which Etchegary obtained from the Remparts’ medical staff. It was in turn forwarded to Central Scouting, but Etchegary says, because of miscommunication, it didn’t get into the hands of NHL teams.
The Wings obviously believe the matter has been cleared up. In fact, Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development says plans are not only for Etchegary to participate in this week’s camp in Traverse City, but also in the team’s fall camp.
“(He) really wants to prove everybody wrong that he should have been drafted,” said Fisher in a story on the team website (redwings.nhl.com).
“He’s an in-your-face competitor, chases people down and really battles. He goes in the areas of pain and doesn’t mind going into the corners, doesn’t mind crashing the net.
“At the same time, he has decent skill and is a smart hockey player.”
The five-foot-11, 185-pound Etchegary, who will be one of 38 players skating in Traverse City, finished with 25 points in 31 games.