02/05/23: Erne has cleared waivers, according to CapFriendly. He’ll now be able to head to AHL Grand Rapids to continue his season.
02/04/23: While the Red Wings are off until Tuesday, they have made a roster move today as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that they’ve placed winger Adam Erne on waivers.
The 27-year-old has played in 43 games with Detroit so far this season, picking up six goals and eight assists while logging just shy of 14 minutes a night. Those numbers are actually better than a year ago on a per-game basis while he has a chance of setting a career high in points if he stays in the NHL and produces at a similar pace the rest of the way. Erne also has recorded 122 hits; his 2.84 per game average is a career best.
With that in mind, it might be a bit surprising to see him on waivers. However, it’s not the riskiest of moves for GM Steve Yzerman as Erne carries a $2.1MM cap hit while he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency for the first time this summer. While Erne would fit on quite a few teams in terms of roster needs, not many of them have enough cap room to try to add him. Filip Zadina is currently on a conditioning loan with AHL Grand Rapids and it’s possible that he’d come back to take Erne’s place in the lineup.
Assuming he clears on Sunday, Erne would be the third veteran Red Wing to be buried in the minors in recent weeks. Jakub Vrana cleared waivers a month ago today while Alex Nedeljkovic was unclaimed two weeks later. Even with those players in the AHL where they still mostly count against Detroit’s salary cap, they project to finish the season with more than $6.5MM in cap space, per CapFriendly so it’s safe to say these moves aren’t cap-related. The Red Wings have some good depth and as their team gets healthier, the roster crunch is starting to be felt. Erne appears to be the next casualty of that.