Dylan Larkin has been a pleasure to watch with the Red Wings this season
Dylan Larkin is the Detroit Red Wings’ best player. Full stop.
Before undergoing season-ending muscle surgery, the Waterford, MI product was just one point away from becoming the first Red Wings player to turn 70 in a single season since… Dylan Larkin, three years ago years. Before that, it was Henrik Zetterberg who last eclipsed that mark in 2010-11.
Larkin is a special player. He’s an excellent offensive center who has remained productive throughout the season despite playing for a Red Wings team that could rightly be described as “awful”.
The Red Wings have won just four of their last 15 games, being outscored by three or more goals seven times during that streak. Three of these unbalanced losses are due to Ottawa Senatorsthe team just below Detroit in the Eastern Conference standings.
Detroit also lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Seattle Kraken and New York Islanders during that streak. Those three teams are currently outside the playoff bracket by at least 15 points — but so are the Red Wings.
Very few expected the Red Wings to come close to the playoffs this season. Even with Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond playing as well as them, the Red Wings just don’t possess the overall depth required to compete for a playoff spot.
They didn’t have to miss the playoffs like this, but. The Red Wings have gone from a scrappy, optimistic-inducing team in the early months of the season to a team that is now on the verge of being completely insurmountable.
Since the start of March, the Red Wings have posted the third-worst point percentage in the NHL (.348). They have the league’s worst five-to-five percentage (39.05), being outscored 64–41 in that span. Their expected goal percentage (44.52) wasn’t much better, ranking 26th in the league (according to Natural Stat Trick).
Blame that lack of depth for the team’s slide. Blame the goalie, if you will. Blame Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, who has now missed the playoffs with that team for six straight seasons.
Don’t blame Larkin.