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Red Wings Review: Adam Erne’s Future

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Adam Erne, Red Wings

Detroit Hockey Now’s Red Wings Review series is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the recently-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature Adam Erne

Adam Erne

Position: Left Wing

2022-23 totals (GP-G-A-PTs-): 61-8-10-18

Contract Status: Will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) this summer.

Season Synopsis

In early February, there was a day when it seemed like the Red Wings had outgrown Adam Erne who has been with the Red Wings for four seasons.

As the Red Wings started to get injured players back on the roster, the Red Wings were faced with a decision about who to put through waivers.

They opted to send Erne to Grand Rapids. He cleared waivers.

“They’re all tough (decisions),” Coach Derek Lalonde said. “It’s just the reality. Thankfully we’re finally getting to that depth. It’s probably more a credit to (Jonatan) Berggren in that technically it’s probably that spot and Berggren just played his way into it.”

GM Steve Yzerman could have opted to go with seven defensemen and place Robert Hagg on waivers. But he chose Erne.

Erne did contribute last season. He was second on the team with 160 hits and he killed penalties.You can’t dismiss his physical play for a team that is looking for more push-back next season. One of Yzerman’s offseason missions is to add some gritty, rugged performers.

2022-23 Red Wings Highlights

From Oct. 17 to Nov. 5,  Erne had two goals and five assists for seven points in nine games. Those points were 38.8% of his season production.

2022-23 Red Wings Lowlight

On Feb. 4, Erne was sent to American Hockey League for the first time in five years. He also closed out his season with no goals and two assists in his last 12 games. He was -5 in that span.

 What Does His Detroit Future Hold?

As of today, it looks as if Erne will be exploring the free agent market. It seems like Yzerman’s plan going into the offseason has been to keep his options open. He needs roster spots and his cap space if he wants to add two or three difference-makers.

Erne’s physical play is valuable in the NHL. But as Yzerman’s rookies start to show up on the roster, maybe it’s time to change the culture by changing up the role players. The Red Wings haven’t made the playoffs in seven seasons and Yzerman may be looking for some role players who are accustomed to winning. We have seen that strategy before on teams trying to build a winning culture.

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Erne was on a contract paying him an average of $2.1 million.  With so many teams facing cap issues, Erne could find a stingier marketplace for role players. But proven physical players always find jobs.