Last season was a breakout campaign for Adam Erne. In a contract year, Erne got paid after delivering a career-high 11 goals for the Detroit Red Wings.
He signed a two-year deal with the team, Erne’s earnings adding up to an AAV of $2.1 million. And just like that, the goals dried up.
Tallying Detroit’s only goal in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, ending a 20-game goalless drought, Erne was counting just his fourth goal of the season. He’s on pace to score eight goals this season.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill believes there is valid reasoning behind the downturn in production from Erne.
“I think last year he was on a consistent line with Helmer (Darren Helm)) and Glenny (Luke Glendening), with an identity,” Blashill said. “At times, the line he’s been on has had that and at times it hasn’t, so it’s probably caused some of the ebb and flow.”
Blashill also pointed to a reduction in power-play time also playing a role in lowered expectations from Erne.
“He hasn’t had as many looks on the power play,” Blashill said. “I don’t know that he’s played the same amount of time on the power play.”
He hasn’t. Last season, Erne skated 1:33 per game of power-play time. This season, that’s down to 1:12. The left-winger netted six power-play goals in 2021. He’s tallied zero with the man advantage in 2021-22.
“He’s gotten certainly some opportunity on the power play but he hasn’t gotten the same looks as a year ago,” Blashill said. “And that’s where some of his offense came from.”
Lindstrom Status Uncertain
The Red Wings aren’t playing again until Wednesday, when they play host to the Chicago Blackhawks. Whether they’ll be playing with Gustav Lindstrom will likely be depending on whether he’s out for Tuesday’s practice.
Lindstrom left Saturday’s loss to the Preds with an undisclosed injury. He didn’t practice on Monday.
“I think it’s a day-to-day thing,” Blashill said. “I don’t know what that means. Does that mean he’s gonna practice tomorrow? I don’t have that answer yet.
“Certainly if he doesn’t practice tomorrow, he wouldn’t be available Wednesday.”
Greiss Remaining In COVID Protocol
It’s been Alex Nedeljkovic’s net for six straight games and that run figures to be continuing. Backup Thomas Greiss remains in COVID-19 protocol.
“Once you get past five days in the new COVID protocols, you can start to try to test your way out of it, if you don’t test what’s considered negative in the past for a certain number of cycles and he hasn’t hit that number,” Blashill said. “So he’s still in COVID. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t get a couple of those in the next couple of days and he gets out. But he’s not there yet.”
Even so, the Wings won’t be in any rush to put Greiss back between the pipes.
“There’s zero doubt it will take longer for us to feel comfortable to put him in those situations, because you can’t hide him on a fourth line or a third D pairing and let them feel their way into a game,” Blashill said. “You’re either ready to go in net or you’re not.
“Let’s say he got out, I think Thursday’s his 10th day. I can’t even tell you that he’d be available for Friday or Saturday at that point.”
On Monday, the Wings swtiched out third-string goalies. Calvin Pickard was sent to AHL Grand Rapids from the taxi squad. Kaden Fulcher was recalled from GR and placed on the taxi squad.