The Detroit Red Wings don’t have much to play for down the stretch, but it was still a period where young players could show the organization they deserve to be kept around. Adam Erne won’t get that chance, as head coach Jeff Blashill announced today that the forward has suffered a broken hand and may miss the rest of the season.
Erne, 24, followed Steve Yzerman to the Red Wings this season after becoming a full-time option for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but hasn’t been able to deliver the same sort of impact. In 56 games he has just five points for Detroit, and though his 142 hits are still impressive, it’s not exactly clear where his role will be moving forward.
Earning $1.05MM on a one-year deal, Erne will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. That’s a common situation among Detroit forwards, as seven of the 14 currently on the roster are scheduled to become RFAs. That sort of uncertainty in the forward ranks will make for quite the interesting offseason, especially if Yzerman and the rest of the front office plan to take a step forward next season.
If they decide not to bring back all of their free agents, who will end up going unqualified? Erne’s qualifying offer will actually be just shy of $1MM thanks to some signing bonuses, and because of this injury could potentially be a two-way offer (depending on whether he misses the rest of the year or not).