2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: EJ Emery

Photo via EP Rinkside

The Scouting Report

A good, solid defenseman, EJ Emery is an up-and-coming player who is still developing but has the chance to be a second-pairing star. The native of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, is effective at both ends of the ice and contributes offensively when he has the green light. More of a defensive defenseman, he can control the play at the offensive end with solid puck-handling skills. At 6-foot-3 and 181 pounds, he has a solid frame capable of using that size to his advantage in the defensive zone.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #35 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM

Ranked #22 by TSN/ CRAIG BUTTON

Ranked #33 by DAILY FACEOFF

Ranked #39 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA SKATERS)

Ranked #43 by DOBBERPROSPECTS

I’ve highlighted some of EJ Emery’s attributes. Let’s take a deeper dive into his attributes and areas for improvement.

Deeper Dive

Emery is not great at any one skill but is good at a lot of things. He has a lot going for him, and he is still young but has shown tremendous promise until this point. Although he has already committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2024-25 season, he has taken his overall game to the next level the past couple of seasons, furthering his development. He is a force in all three zones and leaves little room for error. While he is not the biggest defenseman available, he plays a big game in front of his netminder. In the 2022-23 season, he played for the U.S. National U17 team and produced two goals and 10 assists for 12 points and 28 penalty minutes in 60 games. This past season, he played for the U.S.National U18 team, producing 16 assists and 61 penalty minutes in 61 games.

Attribute One

His strong, defensive abilities allow him to be an outstanding penalty killer, and is highly skilled against the rushes. Emery is a valuable asset in five-on-five play and is essential on the passing game. His athleticism is a strength that allows him to get back in position and close gaps when necessary on the defensive end. He is a big hitter in the open ice and in the defensive zone, setting the tone against whomever the opponent might be.

Attribute Two

Emery is a tremendous skater. Not the fastest but he is efficient in his flow on the ice. Emery rarely gets caught out of position due to his skating stride and his edge work. He can carry the puck into the offensive zone and not think twice about his defensive responsibilities. He can skate north to south and east to west without concern.

Attribute Three

His work ethic is something to keep an eye on as it is one of his best traits. He never gives up on a play and plays whistle-to-whistle. Emery has a nonstop motor in all three zones, constantly moving. He works in the corners and in front of the net, playing a physical game to keep the puck out of the net and protect his goaltender. One of the first players on the ice for practice and the last one to leave.

Areas for Improvement

While he is 6-foot-3 and 1812 pounds, he could benefit from getting stronger before next season. Not weak by any means, but leagues he will graduate to have players that are bigger and stronger than he is used to so he will need to adapt. This will also greatly impact his board battles and physical play in front of the net. He does have penalty minutes so he is aggressive but needs to build more strength as eh further develops.

He is a defense-first player but he can jump in the play offensively. However, while on offense, he needs to make better decisions with the puck. His timing with the puck and his passing is slightly off, which could lead to turnovers and scoring chances the other way. Emery tends to hang on to the puck too long when there is an open teammate. His shot selection from the point needs work too.

“The 6-foot-3 defenseman is a big, big man. Like, just very physically strong. He doesn’t have much offense in his game, but the North Dakota commit skates well, and he’s strong defensively.”- Steven Ellis- Daily Faceoff- March 9th

Prospect Potential

Emery has the potential to be a second-pairing defenseman who can produce offensively and play a physical game. He can play a regular shift, power play, or penalty kill role and be effective at all three. In the NHL, he can be a regular who eats minutes and who can provide close to 25 points in any given season, providing he continues to develop and is with the right organization.

Best Potential Fit

Emery is similar to Seth Jones in his play. Not a ton of offense, reliable in his own zone, and can play special teams. Look for him to be a late first-round pick or an early second-round pick. The Pittsburgh Penguins may take a look at him at #46 with Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson getting older, so their need for right-handed defensemen might be there. Then there are the San Jose Sharks, who have pick #33 and they could use some youth and size on their blueline. Both teams lack the star factor in their system, and Emery could certainly change that.

 “But he’s a solid skater, has a long reach, and the ability to close physically on opponents. He’s the kind of defenceman who is best paired with more of an offensive/risk-taking partner.”- Jason Bukala- Sportsnet-February 27th

Final Thought

Emery is a well-rounded player who has very few flaws in his game. He is going to be a star because of his overall game and his willingness to do things other players won’t do. Emery will be a solid, middle-pairing defenseman who can play an important role in any team’s success. He will not win a Norris Trophy and does not have the elite offensive numbers, but he will be a player a team can count on in tight situations, produce offense, and eat some minutes.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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