Updated at 5:05 PM: The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a mid-day article noting GM Steve Yzerman and coach Jeff Blashill’s takes on the recently-acquired Adam Erne:
“I think Adam has a chance to be a top-nine forward in the NHL.,” Yzerman said. “I think he’s got good puck skills, I think he’s got a good shot and he’s worked extremely hard – his skating is good, he’s a very powerful, strong guy. Difficult to play against because he’s thick and he’s a hard. He’s got pretty good hockey sense. He fits in with our group of players and the young guys coming up.”
Yzerman signed Erne, 24, for one year at $1.05 million. It’s a no-risk contract – if Erne does not make the team, his salary is covered by the exemption if he’s sent to the minors. But Erne has a good shot: he’s sound defensively, kills penalties and uses his 6-foot-1, 214-pound body to punish opponents.
“I think he can bring a pretty good combination of physicality and skill,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s a rare combination in the league – not very many guys in the league are super physical and still have skill to play in the top nine. I think he’s got that ability. He just has to make sure he separates himself from other players.”
Update: Here’s more from MLive’s Ansar Khan:
The Red Wings acquired Erne in August for a fourth-round pick in 2020. He is coming off his first full NHL season, picking up seven goals and 20 points in 65 games.
Erne described himself as a two-way forward who likes playing at a high pace, can make plays and score goals and can be used up and down the lineup.
“I like to have the puck on my stick, I like to play a north-south game, pick the pace up, be able to make plays and shoot the puck,” Erne said. “I just try to be versatile and wherever they need me, that’s where I play.”
Opportunity for advancement was lacking with the Lightning, the best regular season team in the NHL.
“In Tampa, with all the skill we had, sometimes I was just relied on as a bigger body,” Erne said. “I’m just looking to get back to creating offense and be good on that side of the puck for sure.
“It’s an opportunity that I see available here now. It’s exciting. There’s a lot of talent and so far, a really great group of guys. From old to young there’s no cliques. A really good mesh.”