Emerson Etem greeted the news that he would return to the Ducks' minor-league affiliate in Norfolk, Va., with a shrug Wednesday. The Long Beach native, a 20-year-old right wing, knew it would be only a matter of time before he went back to the American Hockey League.

However, it also would seem to be only a matter of time before he's back with the Ducks. If it doesn't happen later in this lockout-shortened season, then it's likely in 2013-14, when he'll be another year older and wiser.

Etem certainly didn't look out of place during the Ducks' scrimmage at their Anaheim training facility Wednesday. He skated with the big boys and wasn't smaller, slower or less of a factor during a 40-minute dress rehearsal for the Ducks' season opener Saturday in Vancouver.

There simply isn't a place on the Ducks' roster for him yet. There is one waiting for him in Norfolk, though.

There also might be one available next season in Anaheim.

In the meantime, he is willing to bide his time and hone his craft.

Etem, a first-round draft pick in 2010 (29 th overall), already has proved he can score goals.

In his final season with a junior-level team in Medicine Hat, Alberta, in 2011-12, he scored 61 goals in 65 games. He also had 46 assists before the Ducks decided to give him a shot in the minors, where he scored one goal in two games with Syracuse of the AHL.