He came in like a wrecking ball. Adam Erne isn't afraid to use his body to muscle his way to the net. Paired with a good set of hands, this power forward has shown a great scoring touch with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. Set to make the full time move to the pros this season, Erne comes in at #9 on the RawCharge Top 25 Under 25.
Here's how the panel ranked him:
|Kyle Alexander||John Fontana||Mike Gallimore||GeoFitz4||Brett Frieman|
Previous Ranks: #22 (2013), #20 (2014)
Erne was a 2nd round pick, 33rd overall in the 2013 NHL entry draft. In his draft year, he was considered by many talent evaluators to be a first round talent, but questions about character after two suspensions in the QMJHL allowed him to slip into the 2nd round for the Lightning to take a chance on. His 16 year old season in the QMJHL was the only season he scored below a 1.0 PPG rate and even then he managed 28 goals and 27 assists for 55 points in 64 games. Since then, he has established a 1.15 PPG scoring rate with 275 points in 245 regular season games to go with 47 points in 45 playoff games. Additionally, Erne played in eight games with the Syracuse Crunch in 2013-14 after his team made an early exit in the playoffs. He contributed one goal and three assists for four points in those eight games to give the fans a preview of what he has to offer.
At 6'1" he is right at the NHL average in height for a forward. However he has a wide frame that supports his 218 pounds which is about 15 pounds heavier than the NHL average for forwards. He uses his body to force his way to the net and overpower defending skaters. He has good hands in tight that he really showed off this past season topping his previous career high of 28 goals by scoring 41 goals. While he has shown that he has terrific offensive skills, there is still a big question mark about his defensive game. He plays defense like an offensively talented junior player. The coaching staff will be looking to round him into shape to make sure he plays that sound defensive game that will allow him to be a more effective power forward.
Check out this clip of a game from October 2014, where Erne scored a hat trick showing he can score in different ways. The first goal is a nice one-timer on a two on one rush. The second is a nice redirect in front of the net while fighting for position. The third to earn the hat trick and the overtime winner is a tap in from in front of the net.
The Lightning organization is very short on power forwards with Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn being the only other players firmly within that category of player. Erne is the only prospect in the pipeline that currently fits that mold. There is a small chance he could make the Lightning out of training camp, and that's what he's aiming for:
Erne on early arrival to #TBLightning skates w regulars,"My goal is to be on the team with them so wanted to skate w them as much as I can."— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) September 9, 2015
But his path his blocked by the deep depth that the team already has in the NHL at forward. He will be well served by rounding out his professional game in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch where he can be a top line winger getting lots of ice time. Pair him with a good playmaking center like Matt Peca and a sniper on the other side like Yanni Gourde and Erne can easily be a point per game player for the Crunch.