This grouping of Red Wings forwards consists of two of the best forwards they currently have between Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha… and Frans Nielsen.
Dylan Larkin, Grade: B
The captain in waiting may have been the team’s leading scorer, but there were some negatives to this season. Larkin’s nineteen goals and thirty-four assists for fifty-three points are twenty points less than his 2018-19 total, and he has only played in five fewer games than last season.
He also made some comments around the All-Star break about not wanting to have to go to the All-Star Game, and that is fine, the issue stems from what seems like an attitude change. This rebuilding struggle has seemingly caused a bit of a morale change for Larkin.
Anthony Mantha, Grade: A
Looking back at the 2019-20, Anthony Mantha’s season with the Detroit Red Wings was injury-stricken, but when he did play, he managed to produce quite well. In forty-three games this season, Mantha scored sixteen goals and tallied twenty-two assists for thirty-eight points on the season.
When he was healthy, and on the ice, Mantha was able to find the back of the net and make things happen, which means he should get a nice pay raise being a restricted free agent this offseason. His injury situation could affect contract talks, but his production and dominance on the ice were quite deserving, almost averaging a point per game on this horrific Red Wings team.
Frans Nielsen, Grade: F
It may sound like beating a dead horse, but Frans Nielsen has diminished from the player he once was. Similar to other Red Wings forwards, the lack of production was terrible, and at thirty-five years old, Nielsen is not the same player he was with the New York Islanders or even the player he was signed him as.
Over sixty games played with the Red Wings, Nielsen scored four goals and tallied five assists in a major regression from the thirty-five points he notched in the 2018-19 season. The significant fall-off wasn’t helped by the fact that he did not score a goal until just before the New Year.