As an American playing in Quebec City the past two seasons, Adam Erne hasn't been the least bit overwhelmed.
It probably stems from the fact the 6-foot-1, 195-pound left wing for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has been a roadie for much of his hockey-playing life.
"My dad [Erik] had me skating before I could walk, but I've always played far away," Erne told NHL.com. "I played an hour away when I was a mite, and over an hour away as a squirt."
Erne moved to New Hampshire for two years before taking his game to California with the Los Angeles Selects when he turned 13. It's an unusual path for a native of New Haven, Conn. He actually billeted with the family of Tri-City Americans goalie Erik Comrie of the Western Hockey League when the two were bantams in Los Angeles.
"It was fun and something I wanted to do," Erne said. "My parents kind of hesitated at first … my dad wanted me to go, but my mom was hesitant. Eventually she let me go and was supportive. I played in Los Angeles for two years and then for the Indiana Ice [of the United States Hockey League] for one year before going to Quebec.
"I've been around, but I've gained experience wherever I've been."
As the youngest player in the USHL at age 15, Erne had 10 goals and 18 points in 45 games with the Ice in the 2010-11 season.
"Living away from home has definitely helped me mature and become more independent," Erne said. "I can honestly say I can live and do it by myself if I'm put in my own house."
Erne was regarded highly by Remparts coach and general manager Patrick Roy by the time he reached the USHL, and the feeling was mutual. He originally committed to Boston University, but ultimately decided to enter the 2011 QMJHL draft with the belief the Remparts would select him in the early rounds.
"I told every [QMJHL] team I wasn't entering except Quebec," Erne said. "Somehow, Halifax found out and because they were pursuing options to somehow acquire [Nathan] MacKinnon, they drafted me in the second round [No. 22]. They then completed a three-team trade to get MacKinnon."
On July 11, 2011, Halifax general manager Cam Russell dealt Erne to Quebec in exchange for a second-round pick and two first-round picks. That gave Halifax five first-round choices over the next three years.
Two days later, MacKinnon's rights were traded to Halifax by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for two players, first-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013, and Quebec's first-round draft pick in 2013, previously acquired by Halifax.
"I ended up where I wanted to be in Quebec, so it worked out," Erne said.
The Remparts are grateful, too, as Erne has played a vital role in his two seasons with the organization. He leads the team this season with a career-high 70 points (26 goals, 44 assists), including nine power-play goals. He sports a plus-10 rating and is second on the team with 211 shots on goal.
"He's got a good offensive game, can contribute and put up numbers, but he'll battle and play physical when needed and that's what excites the scouts," NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr said.
Erne is No. 13 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, and NHL.com's draft experts had him going 16th, 18th and 22nd in three mock drafts.
What would he tell an NHL general manager who might consider him in the first round?
"I'm going to give you everything I got," he said. "That's the game I play. I'm physical, and whatever I'm asked to do, I can do it. I've played in so many different roles. In the USHL I was playing on the third and fourth lines, and now I'm on the first and second lines. I know how to play in every situation."
Erne was part of a great rookie trio with the Remparts in 2011-12, which included QMJHL Rookie of the Year Mikhail Grigorenko and fellow 2013 draft prospect Anthony Duclair. They combined for 88 goals and 206 points, ranking in the top five all-time for QMJHL rookie threesomes. Erne had 28 goals and 55 points in 64 games.
Grigorenko was chosen by the Buffalo Sabres with the 12th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft; Duclair is No. 35 on Central Scouting's midterm ranking.
"I played a bit with Mikhail … he was different than me, but fun," Erne said. "He slowed the game down and me and [2013 draft prospect] Nick Sorensen speed it up, so it was a good mix of him being able to control in the zone while we flew down."
Sorensen is No. 27 on Central Scouting's midterm list.
Erne played for the United States at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and despite a disappointing seventh-place finish, had five goals and a team-high seven points.
"I knew some of the coaches and players at Ivan Hlinka, so we had a pretty different team, but some of the main guys were the same," Erne said. "It's good to play against guys I've never competed against before, it's an awesome experience."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer