Detroit Red Wings: It’s time for Dylan Larkin to step up his game

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

At what point does Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin need to be held accountable for the current status of the organization?  Just six goals in 35 games, isn’t acceptable.  Plus he doesn’t even lead the depleted team in points.

Detroit Red Wings fans are often reluctant to say anything negative about Larkin but are quick to criticize just about anyone else on the roster.  The current punching bag among fans, at times commentators, media, and coaching staff is a familiar face; Anthony Mantha.

I completely understand the notion to attack Mantha mostly due to his lack of effort or what appears to be a lack of effort.  I really don’t believe Mantha is out there coasting around enjoying a leisurely skate.

Do I feel he finds himself watching puck-watching too much? Absolutely.  Does he need to be reminded to keep his feet moving?  Certainly, but from a skating standpoint, Matha isn’t exactly someone you’d call a strong skater, to begin with, and his large frame makes it seem that he’s not putting in the same effort as some of the shorter players.  I get the frustration here, this is a professional hockey player in his sixth NHL season that shouldn’t need to be reminded of these things.

At 6-foot-4, Mantha’s stride is equal to a couple of Larkin or Tyler Bertuzzi’s pace.  I won’t rule out that maybe the constant rebuild has taken its toll on Larkin, Mantha, and everyone else, for that matter, who have been around over the past four or five-plus seasons.

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The Detroit Red Wings need more production from captain Dylan Larkin.

As I was writing out that headline before continuing, it originally read, ‘the Detroit Red Wings need a better effort from captain Dylan Larkin.’  But that is not true.  If you’ve observed a Red Wings’ game this season, or any Larkin has played throughout his career, you will be quick to justify he will always give the organization a full effort or one that is of the best of his ability.

Back to making excuses for a minute.

Sure, Larkin would benefit from playing alongside higher-skilled players, and it’s apparent Bertuzzi is the straw that stirs the drink, especially on Detroit’s top line.  Larkin has struggled to find his offensive touch without his buddy Bertuzzi by his side.

Bertuzzi has not appeared in a game since January 30th; since then, Larkin has recorded three goals and totaled 12 points in 25 games.  Before Bertuzzi’s injury, Larkin recorded three goals and seven points in nine games.

Alarming, isn’t it?

Though he’s only played nine total games this season, Bertuzzi scored five times and recorded seven points.  Prior to his injury Bertuzzi had been playing at an All-Star pace.

In conclusion, I’d like to point out I thought it was Larkin who was supposed to elevate those around him?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it, Larkin is a fine player, a valuable do-it-all type, but his ceiling in this league is one of a second-line center.  Like many other players on the current roster, he’s being asked to do more than he’s capable of.

Is that the Yzer-Plan?

Of course not, but it’s fueling the eventual plan of tanking, but let me remind you Lucas Raymond is a winger, Filip Zadina is a winger, Jonatan Berggren is a winger,  Joseph Veleno is a third MAYBE second-line NHL centerman.  I still have high hopes for Michael Rasmussen, but he doesn’t have the makings of a top NHL center, which leaves a huge hole at the top of Detroit’s lineup.

Eventually, when the Detroit Red Wings are ready to contend for a Stanley Cup again, they will need a top center followed by Larkin and maybe Veleno and Rasmussen on the depth chart.

Next. Another missed opportunity for Yzerman. dark

It’s 23-year old defenseman Filip Hronek that is currently leading the Detroit Red Wings in points with 21, followed by Larkin, who sits at 19 points, Mantha with 18, and Robby Fabbri with 18.  Both Fabbri and Mantha are tied atop the team with 10 goals.