DETROIT – Last season was quite the experience for Red Wings center Cory Emmerton, who played in his first full NHL season. But it’s the Stanley Cup playoffs that he’ll remember most.
“You just have to be a part of it, really,” said Emmerton, who scored his first career playoff goal in the opening round series with Nashville. “Until you play in it and you realize what it’s like, it’s amazing how much fun it is to be in that type of atmosphere and that kind of stage and level. It’s pretty surreal.”
Besides his one goal in five playoffs games, Emmerton produced six goals and four assists in 71 regular-season contests in his first full campaign with the Wings. And it’s for that effort that Emmerton has been named the 2011-12 Red Wings’ Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.
“The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association is excited to name Cory Emmerton as the Red Wings rookie of the year,” said Vicki Foley, DSBA president. “Cory demonstrated good skills during his rookie season with the club, and I'm sure he can look forward to a bright future here in Detroit.”
The 24-year-old Emmerton finished among the NHL rookie leaders in takeaways (16), and total face-offs taken (313), while managing to win 48.2 percent of those draws.
A St. Thomas, Ontario, native, Emmerton was originally selected by the Wings in the second-round of the 2006 NHL draft, and he’s the fifth Wings’ center so honored by the DSBA since Pavel Datsyuk received the award following the 2001-02 season.
Primarily used as a fourth line center last season, Emmerton had his finest offensive game of his career when he played between forwards Drew Miller and Tomas Holmstrom in an 8-2 shellacking of the Los Angeles Kings in December. In that game, Emmerton enjoyed his first career multiple goal game of his career, scoring two first-period goals and adding an assist late.
“That was one of those games where our fourth line really had everything going right for us, and we were playing extremely well,” Emmerton said. “To score a couple of goals is never easy no matter what game it is or what level, so it was one of those things that I won’t forget and it was nice to contribute in an offensive way.”
As for the postseason, the early exit was a disappointment; however, Emmerton is glad to have finally experienced it first-hand.
“I think just scoring in the playoffs was pretty special, just the whole atmosphere of the playoffs was pretty great,” he said. “It was the one thing that I was really looking forward to and especially with playing on such a great team as Detroit and being in a great organization; any little extra that you can get out of it is a bonus. I think just getting a little taste of the playoffs was special for me.”
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* DSBA awarded co-rookies of the year in 1967-68