Steve Yzerman has made his first move as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings with his former team the Tampa Bay Lightning today. The Lightning traded restricted free agent forward Adam Erne for a fourth-round draft pick in 2020. This move comes less than four months after the former captain of the Red Wings was hired to replace Ken Holland, who has since moved on to become the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers.
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Yzerman preached patience to the Red Wings fan base during his introductory press conference and that returning the franchise to a perennial playoff team would not happen overnight. The addition of Erne to a roster that lacks young offensive wingers will be a welcome sight for the younger players on the roster such as Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, who began to show flashes of what they could become as offensive players toward the end of the 2018-19 regular season. Not to mention the fact that Dylan Larkin began to show much more of a leadership role for the team that he recently said he is ready to be the captain of.
The fact that Yzerman drafted Erne and is already familiar with the player likely had something to do with this move. Yzerman must see some potential in Erne given that this was the first trade he has made for the team he played his entire career with.
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Erne is a 24-year-old left-shooting left-wing who played in 65 games last season. Erne scored seven goals and tallied 13 assists for a career-high of 20 points in 2018-19. Originally, Erne was selected 33rd overall by then-general manager Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013. The fact that the Lightning have such a talented roster around Erne meant that the restricted free agent was unlikely to return to the team in 2019-20.
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Trading only a fourth-round draft pick in 2020 for Erne is a low-risk move despite the anticipated depth of the 2020 draft. Especially for a player that averaged nearly two points per game. Erne will likely see more playing time with his new team as the roster around him does not have nearly as much firepower as the Tampa Bay Lightning.