When you dissect the Lightning roster, it’s clear what the Detroit Red Wings are missing.
The Detroit Red Wings are missing a number one center.
Steven Stamkos is an elite scorer, and maybe not the elite two-way player teams covet like Patrice Bergeron or Sidney Crosby. Still, he belongs in that same category along with Auston Matthews and Nathan MacKinnon. Notice, I didn’t mention Connor McDavid? He’s in a league of his own right now.
In addition to their captain Stamkos, Tampa deploys Brayden Point, who is every bit as good, maybe better. Oh, and Nikita Kucherov. Detroit currently does not have a trio of forwards that compare, period.
I am a Dylan Larkin fan, but let’s call a spade a spade.
Larkin is a good player, but he’s not talented enough to carry an organization. He’s a do-it-all type player that is valuable working on the penalty kill, along with the power-play, but he’s best utilized as a teams’ second-line center.
The Red Wings have plenty of young talented forwards, but the majority of them are wingers. Lucas Raymond will have an opportunity to be an impactful forward, but he’s a winger. Jakub Vrana, Filip Zadina, and Tyler Bertuzzi are all wingers.
I’m a firm believer in building your roster from the inside out; whether I’m right or wrong can be debatable but even looking back to the Red Wings’ glory days, their roster was built with elite talent down the middle with Yzerman followed by Fedorov.
Igor Larionov and Kris Draper complimented the two superstar centers. Later, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, carried the load, with Valterri Filppula and again Draper being the complementary piece down the middle.