NHL Draft prospects: No. 20 Adam Erne

Erne is ranked 26th by the NHL’s Central Scouting. (CP/Jacques Boissinot)

Intro: Sportsnet.ca is previewing the top 30 prospects in the 30 days leading up to the NHL draft in New Jersey on June 30.

The countdown continues with Adam Erne, a power forward from the Quebec Remparts.

Stats: Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) | 68 GP | 28 G | 44 A | 72 P | +11 | 67 PIM

Who is Adam Erne?
Erne was first drafted by the Halifax Mooseheads in the second round two years ago, then later traded to the Remparts in a deal that helped lay the foundation for the Mooseheads to acquire Nathan MacKinnon from Baie-Comeau. Erne left home a few years before the QMJHL draft in 2011 to play in Los Angeles, and lived and played with 2013 draft prospect, Tri-City goalie Eric Comrie. Erne then played for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League in 2010-11 as a 15-year-old before making the jump to the Remparts at 16. Erne represented the United States at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial under-18 tournament.

Adam Erne’s scouting report:
Erne is the prototypical power forward who plays with a snarl and nastiness to his game. He loves to get engaged physically and won’t hesitate to lay out an opponent in open ice or along the wall. Erne also possesses the soft hands to score goals which, coupled with his willingness to drive the net, makes him a very dangerous player from the slot. His skating isn’t necessarily an asset or a downfall at this point. He’s a difficult player to play against and makes the other team take notice of where he is on the ice at all times.

Teams who might be interested in Adam Erne:
The Columbus Blue Jackets pick twice in the range where Erne may be picked, at No. 14 and 19. His grittiness will be noted by general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, who built the St. Louis Blues through the draft with players that combined grit with offensive ability. They may want to pick him with their first pick at 14, however, because the Buffalo Sabres — picking 16th — also covet players who play with Erne’s style.

Scout’s take: “A good physical power forward who loves to drive the net with and without the puck, Erne is excellent at drawing attention from opponents or making them pay if they don’t give him enough attention,” describes Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “He loves to bang and crash and plays with excellent competitive spirit. While not the smoothest skater, his stride does have very good power elements in it and he is not easy to move when he gets where he wants to go. He throws very good hits and is not an easy player to contain. He might not be the most dynamic offensive weapon, but he has a nose for the net and is very good at finishing when given the slightest bit of room to make a play.”

“He’s the kind of guy that will go through you as oppose to around you,” adds David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “His game is all predicated on power. He’s got good straight-ahead speed. He did a better job this year improving on his creativity and his puck distribution but the strength of his game lies in him being able to hold the boards. He’s fearless in terms of cutting to the net when he has a good head of steam on him and he’s very hard to derail. He plays like a bull in a china shop.”

Rankings: Erne is ranked 26th by the NHL’s Central Scouting (North American skaters), 20th by McKeen’s Hockey and 37th by ISS.

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