Top 25 Under 25: #10 Adam Erne looks to crack the Opening Night roster in Tampa this season

There’s a spot open. Can Erne take it and run with it?

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the RawCharge writing staff. Four writers, plus a special guest, ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2017 in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked, plus Honorable Mentions.

Want to weigh in? Post your own fan ranking here!

Adam Erne is hands down one of my favorite prospects in the Lightning system. Drafted 33rd overall in 2013, Erne was pegged by some analysts to slip into the end of Round 1, but Yzerman and company were fortunate to draft him where they did.

In 101 AHL regular season games, Erne has 28 goals and 30 assists for 58 points. Not great, but he has been riddled by injuries in his professional career. In fact, his stat lines in 2015-16 and 2016-17 were identical—14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points. However, he did that in 59 games in his first pro year and in only 42 games last season.

In his junior career, he frequented the score sheet, putting up 28 goals and 27 assists for 55 points in 64 games as a 16-year-old. His production continued to increase, and his final year in juniors was his most prolific: 41 goals and 45 assists for 86 points in 60 games. He also added 21 goals and 9 assists for 30 points in 22 playoff games in his final year of juniors for the Québec Remparts of the QMJHL.

The prototypical power forward, Adam Erne weighs in at 209 pounds and stands at 6’1”. He is a thick kid with sneaky good hands. His development has stalled a bit due to his recent rash of injuries, but he showed well in his stint with the Bolts, although his point totals don’t really reflect that.

Fast-forward to the 30-second mark of this video to see an example of how Erne will make his money in the NHL should he continue to develop to his highest potential.

I’d love to see Erne make the Opening Night roster this year for Tampa Bay. There are possibly 1-2 spots available this year, and he is that close to making the team in October. He needs to have a solid camp. He could prove to be a very valuable asset on the left side of center on either of the bottom two lines that could fill a spot in the top-six later in the year if injuries arise.

Erne will be a restricted free agent this upcoming summer, and if he can solidify himself as an NHL-caliber player this year, he will be in line to receive a one-way deal next off season. I’ll be pulling for him to stick in the NHL this year. It’s time he proves his worth to the organization. If so, he could still pan out to be a solid scoring line power forward in this league. The opportunity is there for him, so will he run with it? Check back in late September.