Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Detroit's Top Line

12/12/2018 at 4:08pm EST

Tyler Dellow via The Athletic (paid) on first lines around the NHL that are producing; or not.

Dylan Larkin is the proxy for their first line and they’re shooting 5.3 per cent when he’s on the ice. One of the issues that rebuilding teams run into sometimes is that they have young players, good young players, but they aren’t superstars. You sell them as the next big thing when they’re really guys who might play down the order a little bit on a real Stanley Cup contender. Through 2017-18, Larkin wasn’t an elite 5-on-5 finisher by any means, shooting 8.5 per cent. That’s not particularly good for a forward — league average for forwards this year is at 10 per cent. I believe that’s up a bit over past seasons but the evidence that Larkin is a high-end goal scorer is awfully light.

Add to that Anthony Mantha enduring a Riley Sheahan-esque season when on the ice with Larkin and Detroit’s not getting much from their first line. They almost certainly aren’t *this* bad from a true talent perspective but the lows are lower when your top line doesn’t have really top end players.

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