Yesterday, the Detroit Red Wings traded a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Adam Erne. Steve Yzerman’s first trade as general manager of the Red Wings brings back his former second-round pick in the 2013 Entry Draft. But what can Red Wings fans expect from the 24-year-old forward? Will he carve out a bright future in Detroit or will he have to fight his way into a roster spot on a team looking to rebuild? Today, we’ll take a closer look at how Erne has done so far and how he can make a name for himself.
How Erne Has Fared so Far
Taken 33rd overall in 2013, Erne spent his first two post-draft seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), playing for the Quebec Remparts. During his last junior year, he obtained the Guy LaFleur Trophy as the QMJHL’s most valuable player in the 2015 Memorial Cup tournament. He spent his next two seasons playing for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, sporting two identical 29-point seasons and a 26-game call-up to the NHL, when he scored three goals. During the 2017-18 season, he spent another 23 games with the Lightning before being sent down again.
Last season, Erne earned a full-time spot on the roster with seven goals and 20 points in 65 games. Despite a brief injury, he stayed among the team leaders in hits, with 159. Unfortunately, his time on the ice was limited by the Lightning’s depth at forward. This relegated him to a bottom-six role, where he used his physicality to open up scoring lanes for his linemates. He earned a reputation as a reliable bottom-six forward for his responsible use of his ice time and low penalty minutes.
What Erne Will Bring to Detroit
While Detroit has no shortage of bottom-six forwards, Erne stands out among them. He was able to earn a consistent role on the highest-scoring team in the league while simultaneously working to maintain his position. His biggest asset is that he’s already proven himself, while players like Michael Rasmussen have yet to carve out a consistent reputation. Erne plays a similar role to fellow Red Wing Justin Abdelkader in that they’re both bottom-six grinders that hit hard and occasionally score a goal or two.
Erne will have to battle between Jacob De la Rose, Christoffer Ehn, Dominic Turgeon, Rasmussen, and Evgeny Svechnikov for a spot in the Red Wings’ bottom-six. With Erne’s responsible, yet energetic style of play, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him become a fan favorite. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves when the going gets tough, and he’s more than willing to go up against some surprisingly tough competition. Plus, the thought of he and Tyler Bertuzzi playing on a Bert and Erne line would spark endless joy.
As far as his potential upside, Erne’s peak seems similar to Abdelkader’s, though Erne is much cheaper and much younger. He can slot in anywhere in the bottom-six while remaining an asset to his team. Additionally, at just 24 years old, he’s still got time to smooth out his game and build on what he’s already learned. With that being said, his play style and role with the Lightning seems to indicate that he’s best suited for the Red Wings bottom-six.
What do you think Erne will bring to Detroit? Can he beat someone out of a roster spot? If so, who? Let us know in the comments!