For those that listened to the Winged Octopus live feed prior to the start of the season, you would have heard that I went on the record stating big things to come from Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin. With 12 games played, we can take a look and see where #39 and #71 are in terms of my projections. For those that didn’t hear our live feed, I stated that Mantha would have a monster season with 35-40 goals and 60-70 points. I also went on record stating that Larkin would have to be a far better player for the Wings to even have a sniff at the playoffs.
Now I will say that I didn’t predict a number for Dylan Larkin. To be clear I hoped that he would find another level to his game. He needed a significant step forward in his game for his next contract to be a major commitment from the front office. Otherwise we would have seen a bridge deal for Larkin.
Larkin only has one goal on the season. With all the trends in league scoring being up, it is a little bit of a worry that Dylan only has one. It’s not so much of a worry that we have to panic. Hot sticks versus cold when it comes to goal scoring. We have seen Larkin skating well, and let’s not ignore that we are seeing different looks when he is entering the offensive zone. Goals will come for Larkin. It is reasonable to think he will hit 20 this year. If that power play comes to life, it could be 25 by the end of the season.
At nine assists, Larkin has almost hit his total from last season. When we heard that Dylan was working hard in the off season, when we heard that he wanted to be a superstar in the NHL, we hoped that’s what we had. In this early window of Larkin’s season, we are seeing that he has been working hard to improve his game. Projecting his assists at 61 by seasons end just shows how much work has been put into Dylan Larkin the superstar.
Mantha has lit the lamp four times this season which isn’t in the same category as snipers Ovechkin, Kucherov, or Stamkos. Goal scorers can be streaky. Scoring in bunches can be followed by a hot stick turning ice cold. It’s fair to say that Mantha hasn’t hit a hot streak yet. I fully expect he will have one portion of the season that he goes red hot. So it is realistic to expect that Anthony will be close to the 35 goal mark. As of the time of this article, Mantha projects to hit 27 goals.
One point that I am quite happy with is that Mantha’s assist number is balanced compared with his goals. With five helpers on the season, that puts Anthony on pace for 34 assists. As I said in the preseason, if the power play gets working these numbers could increase. So far we haven’t see that step forward in the team power play output.
Now if you were told Mantha would be on pace for a 61 point season, would you think the future was a little brighter? How about Larkin at just shy of 70 points? Remember that Henrik Zetterberg had 68 points last season. Are we in the process of seeing the next generation dynamic duo? It’s quite possible.