The Tampa Bay Lightning traded left winger Adam Erne to Steve Yzerman’s Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday afternoon. The Bolts will get a guaranteed 2020 fourth-round pick in return for the restricted free agent who had remained unsigned through the summer after electing not to file for arbitration.
Erne played in 65 games for the Lightning last season, putting up seven goals and 20 points on 70 shots in a bottom-six role. He put up strong numbers in a limited role early in the season and forced his way into the lineup pushing Ryan Callahan to the press box. But as he got more minutes, his impact lessened and he wasn’t able to keep up the pace he established in the earlier part of the year.
For the Red Wings, Erne provides depth to an organization lacking NHL talent. He’ll almost certainly find a place in their bottom six and could prove to be a competent third liner given the opportunity. According to Cap Friendly, he is their 23rd forward on the roster.
For the Lightning, this opens up a spot in a very crowded battle for the 13th forward in training camp. There are a handful of skilled and determined players in the hunt and with Erne out of the picture, the potential for a player like Carter Verhaeghe (who led the AHL in scoring), Taylor Raddysh, or Alex Barré-Boulet to get an opportunity to show their stuff in the NHL is huge.
All three are skilled players who have shown the willingness to play a role lower in the lineup. Erne turned 24 in April and after three seasons in the NHL, his stock is likely not going to change much. The Lightning have three shots at hitting gold here with a trio of highly skilled forwards on a deep and fast roster.
Also, if I’m Alex Barre-Boulet, Carter Verhaeghe, Alex Volkov or Mitchell Stephens, I’m licking my chops at the thought of a clearer path to making the Opening Night roster. #Bolts— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) August 14, 2019
Right now, the Lightning are looking at a roster that looks somewhat like this:
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
[open spot] - Cedric Paquette - [open spot]
With the following players vying for the three openings on the roster:
Verhaeghe, Danick Martel, Cory Conacher, Taylor Raddysh, Alex Barre-Boulet, Mitchell Stephens, and Alex Volkov.
Verhaeghe, Martel, and Conacher would all require waivers to be sent down.
All of the players listed above make less than a million dollars at the NHL level, so that also helps the team in terms of the salary cap. They currently have $9.376 million to spend on two roster spots, one of which being Brayden Point’s new contract. Erne was going to make more than a million dollars, so this saves them some money. Plus they got a draft pick.
Speaking on the draft pick coming back, the 2020 draft has been compared to some of the best drafts in recent memory because it is so deep and there will be so many good players available in the later rounds. The Lightning already have the Canucks’ 2020 first (conditional on them making the playoffs) and now an extra fourth. More shots at a lottery that has better odds than usual is always a win.
The fact that the Lightning get another draft pick in 2020 (albeit in the 4th round) when it's projected to be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory is huge.— ♀️Lauren Kelly ♀️ (@laurkelly24) August 14, 2019