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Red Wings Erne Effective When He Doesn’t Forget What Made Him Famous

Adam Erne scored 11 goals in 45 games for the Red Wings during the 2020-21 NHL season



Adam Erne, Detroit Red Wings
Adam Erne is valuable to the Red Wings due to his versatility.

Over the course of a long season it will become an inocuous play, but in the moment, it encapsulated the value of Adam Erne to the Detroit Red Wings.

Late in a game at Boston, in the process of absorbing a 5-1 drubbing, officials were assessing the Red Wings a bench minor. Without being asked, Erne left the bench and skated to the penalty box to serve the infraction.

“We needed to have someone serve it and he jumped off our bench and went and served it,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde was recalling. “That’s a team ahead of self, just a little thing.

“It made it even that much more easy to put him on that top line.”

With Detroit’s roster ripped apart by injuries to high-end forwards, Erne is the latest player getting a crack at skating with captain Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond on Detroit’s No. 1 forward unit.

“I think Lucas could attest to it as well, it’s really nice playing with him when he’s forechecking and moving his feet,”Larkin said. “There was a couple of times when he was just flying by me to get the puck on the forecheck. It’s great when he’s hungry for it.

“It’s nice to see and I’m sure it’s rewarding for him to feel that.”

Erne Sometimes Forgets To Unpack His Unique Skillset

There’s an old hockey adage about the crusher who turned into a rusher and soon found himself working as an usher.

First and foremost, the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Erne is a crusher. It’s why he generally resides among the bottom six of the Detroit forward group.

He does have a scoring touch, though. Two seasons ago, his 11 goals tied Erne for the team lead. The problem, though, is that when Erne is moving among the high-rent district of the top-six forwards, he often fails to remember his strength is as a meat and potatoes guy.

The crusher looks to become a rusher. Lalonde is seeking to usher that phase out of Erne’s game.

“I have some experience with Adam in Tampa,” Lalonde recalled of their days together with the Lightning. “He’s had some time in the past where he’s good enough to play anywhere in your lineup.

“For us, he’s one of our few heavy players, so he can complement our bottom six very well, he can complement our top guys. But at times when he goes and complements the top guys, he changes his game a little bit and tries to turn a little more into a skill game.”

Remembering What Made Him Famous

In this instance, though, Erne appears to be firmly grasping the method with which he must approach his game in order to drive the opposition to madness.

“Playing with the puck on my stick and going to the dirty areas and putting myself in position to score,” Erne explained as to his formula for success.

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Lalonde is liking what he’s seeing from Erne so far this season. With 2-3-5 numbers through nine games, he’s delivering the goods. Erne also leads the Red Wings with 30 hits, so he’s not sacrficing grit for goals.

“He’s played well,” Lalonde said. “He had a really good camp, he played good early on, Physical throughout. He gives us a heavy game.”