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Yzerman Strikes Deal With Lightning

August 14, 2019, 9:13 PM ET [21 Comments]
Bob Duff
Detroit Red Wings Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Detroit Red Wings traded Wednesday with the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire the rights to one of their restricted free agent forwards.

Relax. It wasn’t Brayden Point.

Making his first trade since taking over as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Steve Yzerman opted to go to familiar territory.

The former GM of the Lightning dealt with his old team to acquire a guy he drafted, left winger Adam Erne. The Wings gave up a 2020 fourth round NHL entry draft pick to get Erne, who Yzerman picked 33rd overall in the 2013 draft.

While certainly not a major deal, it’s one that makes a bit of sense for both sides.

The Lightning need to dump salary to help create room to sign Point, who finished 13th in NHL scoring last season with 41-51-92 totals. Erne, 24, brings an element to Detroit’s bottom-six forwards that the Wings don’t have in abundance, a guy who plays with a physical presence. He’s 6-foot-1 and 214 pounds.

Erne was third on the Lightning with 159 hits last season. He posted 7-13-20 totals in 65 games during his first full NHL season and suited up for three of Tampa Bay’s four playoff games as the Lightning were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Erne’s presence also adds to what is already an overabundance of bottom-six forward types on the Wings’ depth chart. Someone will have to be slotted in on the second line with Andreas Athanasiou and free-agent addition Valtteri Filppula. Might that be 2018 first-round pick Filip Zadina, or perhaps Taro Hirose, who put up seven points in 10 games following his late-season addition from Michigan State as an undrafted NCAA free agent?

That still leaves Erne in a group with Luke Glendening, Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Michael Rasmussen, Jacob De La Rose, and Christoffer Ehn looking to fill spots on the third and fourth lines.

It’s entirely possible that Rasmussen, whose play tailed off significantly in the second half of last season, and even Ehn, who the Wings believe has an offensive upside, might begin the season with AHL Grand Rapids.

The next mission will be to get Erne’s name on a contract. He made $800,000 last season in the final year of his entry-level deal.

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