Should Dylan Larkin's Slump Worry Red Wings Fans?
After a torrid start to the season, Detroit Red Wings' rookie Dylan Larkin has finally started to slow down. Heading into the All-Star break, Larkin was tied with Chicago Blackhawks' rookie Artemi Panarin for the lead in 5v5 goals (13) and 5v5 points (28). Larkin was dazzling every single night, culminating in his selection to the NHL All-Star team, becoming the first Red Wings rookie to be selected since Steve Yzerman. Since returning from the All-Star break, Larkin has scored just four goals and six points in 14 games. His struggles have been further magnified as he has just one point in his last 10 games. Is Larkin getting unlucky, or do Red Wings fans have something to be legitimately worried about?
Larkin's Torrid Start
Up until the All-Star break, Larkin was on pace to have one of the best seasons by a Red Wings rookie in the last 20 years.
|Dylan Larkin (Pre All-Star Break)||2015-2016||1.12||2.47|
Fans were electrified by his ability to consistently generate scoring chances in comparison to other Red Wings forwards. At the All-Star break, Larkin ranked in the top-4 among Red Wings forwards in 5v5 individual high-danger scoring chances/60, 5v5 individual scoring chances/60, and 5v5 individual shot attempts/60. Ultimately, Larkin was a real driver of offense when he was on the ice.
Individual 5v5 High-Danger Scoring Chances, Scoring Chances, and Shot Attempts Through All-Star Break
|Player||5v5 iHSC/60||5v5 iSC/60||5v5 iCF/60|
What's particularly impressive for Larkin is his high iCF/60 or individual shot attempts/60 minutes played. Larkin actually took almost 30% of the shot attempts that occurred when he was on the ice at 5v5. The puck followed him and he was able to keep peppering goalies with shots. Take a look at this visual showing where all of his shots have come from this season (includes post-All Star break)
Since coming back from the All-Star break, Larkin's point totals have dropped off dramatically. He's posted just six points in 14 games, and has just one point in his last 10 games. There are whispers of concern starting to permeate through the Detroit fanbase. However, before panicking, take a look at Larkin's numbers since the All-Star Break
|Metric||Pre-All Star Break||Post-All Star Break|
|5v5 Score-Adjusted CF%||50.8||53.4|
Looking at these numbers, Larkin's been better from a process standpoint. The puck hasn't gone in for Larkin but he's individually creating chances at a higher rate than he was prior to the All-Star break. He's not just forcing shots from everywhere; he's getting to the dangerous locations at a higher rate. Considering this, it's hard to imagine this slump going on for much longer.
This isn't your typical rookie wall where a player all of a sudden becomes invisible and isn't able to generate the same level of play. This is a kid who is creating chances left and right but just hasn't received the bounces. Really, the only significant change I've noticed is that prior to the All-Star break, the Wings put 55.6% of their 5v5 shot attempts on goal with Larkin on the ice. That number has dropped to 41.1% since the All-Star break. However, even that problem isn't an issue with Larkin not getting his shots through as he personally put 58.9% of his attempts on goal before the break and is putting 56.6% of his attempts on goal after the break.
Ultimately, this is just a matter of a player not having the bounces go his way. Take a look at how the Red Wings have generated scoring chances at 5v5 with Larkin this season.
As you can see, the Red Wings are generating 5v5 scoring chances at a season high with Larkin on the ice. In fact, really the only negative you can pin on Larkin is the uptick in scoring chances against that you see at the end of the graph. That uptick has corresponded with the formation of the Larkin-Andreas Athanasiou-Brad Richards line. In the three games that line has played together, they've posted a 37.9% 5v5 CF%, have scored zero goals, and have given up three.
Larkin-Athanasiou-Richards Line at 5v5
Not exactly a recipe for success. I think if you want to get Larkin going again, a line he had a lot of success with Richards and Tomas Tatar. Regardless of who the Wings play Larkin with, he's still generating chances at an incredible level and it's only a matter of time before he breaks out of this slump. Red Wings fans, you have nothing to worry about, D-Boss will be back shortly.
All data from either War-On-Ice or Puckalytics.
Should Red Wings fans be worried about Dylan Larkin's slump?
|D-BOSS IN THE HOUSE||540|