Detroit Red Wings: Adam Erne’s 2020-21 season is a one-hit-wonder

(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings may have been atrocious this year, but there were still some positives to note. One of them was the performance of forward Adam Erne, who did a great job and was able actually to put up some offense.

His performance for the Detroit Red Wings team that struggled to score was quite impressive. However, it was a little misleading because it seems like he will not put up scoring like that in 2021-22.

In 2019 when General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman was starting to mix “his guys” into the organization, he made a trade with his former team for Erne. He shipped out a fourth-round draft choice to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the forward.

While Erne’s cap hit is a slice under $1 million, according to CapFriendly, he is nothing more than a fourth-line depth player. The 26-year-old has not been much of anything, and then in 2020-21, he flipped the script.

Detroit Red Wings forward Adam Erne’s success in 2020-21 was that of a one-hit-wonder.

En route to his stellar season, Erne played in 45 of the Red Wings’ 56 games. He would go on to score 11 goals and add nine assists for 20 total points. He was third in points on the team was the team leader in goals. (These figures do not include Anthony Mantha, who also scored 11 goals.)

The fact that Erne led the team in goals is not really impressive as it seems. The Red Wings sucked and struggled to score as it is. Erne scored 11 of the 125 goals that the Red Wings scored, equating to 11.36% of the team’s goals.

Erne gives off some serious San Francisco Giants World Series vibes if you look at his Hockey-Reference page. The Giants were an every other year World Series Contender in the early 2010s, and looking at Erne’s point totals, he will likely not score much in 2021-22.

But, if he follows suit, he will post another 20 point season in the 2022-23 season. After his rookie season, his point totals read…

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  • 2017-18: 4 points
  • 2018-19: 20 points
  • 2019-20: 4 points
  • 2020-21: 20 points

The next thing to be said is that Erne gets really lucky and finds his way to 20 points in these years, where he explodes on the scoresheet.

PDO, a hockey analytics term for a start measuring “luck” in a way, tells a lot about Erne’s abilities. Here’s what his same four seasons from above look like in terms of his PDO.

  • 2017-18: 98.0
  • 2018-19: 104.4
  • 2019-20: 93.6
  • 2020-21: 102.4

For those who are lost, the scale for PDO is 100. Being at 100 would be pretty much normal, enough positive luck and negative luck to mean the player’s stats are pretty on-par. However, looking at a number below 100, like 98 for Erne in 2017-18, would mean that Erne was getting unlucky.

The farther from 100, the worse the player’s luck. As you can imagine, over 100 would mean the player is getting quite lucky. I wrote a story about this with Robby Fabbri and some of his success during the 2020-21 season for those who find PDO and the correlation to stats interesting.

But, with Erne, it makes for an interesting correlation, and as for the 2021-22 season, I would not expect much of anything. He’ll be a fourth-liner who struggles and is pretty much useless for the Red Wings once again.

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The 2020-21 season was a fluke and is something that is unlikely to happen again… well, until 2022-23 if the pattern continues.