During the 2013-14 season, the Detroit Red Wings received important contributions from three young players who were dubbed the “Kid Line” by Mickey Redmond. Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, and Tomas Jurco were all called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins and immediately brought speed and chemistry to the third line of the Red Wings. Although only Tatar became a consistent contributor for the team, they all played a key role that season. This year the Detroit Red Wings new “Kid Line” is making an early impact.
Detroit Red Wings New “Kid Line”
Although this season’s version of the “kid line” is not as young and inexperienced as the previous incarnation, they still bring the same type of energy and chemistry that this team really needs. Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, and Martin Frk have combined for 19 points through the teams first seven games. They are second, third, and fourth respectively on the team in points, trailing only Mike Green and Henrik Zetterberg. The line was responsible for three of the four goals scored in the team’s opener and has remained hot since that time.
Larkin and Mantha have already shown that they have the ability to contribute at the NHL level. Frk, on the other hand, had yet to receive a meaningful chance in the NHL. He has always been known for his booming shot but had yet to show that he had a complete game. Frk had already been waived by both the Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes last season before returning to the Griffins. He helped lead them to their second Calder Cup Championship in the last five seasons. While the Wings continue to negotiate a contract with Andreas Athanasiou, he should play most nights.
Realistic expectations for this line
Both Larkin and Mantha have already shown flashes of what they can bring to the Red Wings on both sides of the ice. They seem to be playing even better together than they have apart. Mantha grew exponentially in his season playing with Henrik Zetterberg and in a full healthy season has the ability to score 30 goals. Mantha is a tough guy at heart but has to be willing to let his teammates protect him. He injured his finger in a fight with current teammate Luke Witkowski. That injury in late March and would miss the rest of the regular season. Detroit needs a full, healthy season from Mantha for any chance to have success.
Dylan Larkin had a tremendous rookie year but suffered a sophomore slump last season. He scored just 17 goals and 32 points total. By putting him on a line with another true scoring talent, Larkin should see more open ice. This could bring his point totals closer to the 45 he accounted for in his rookie campaign.
Frk will have to continue to improve on his defense if he wants to stay in Jeff Blashill’s lineup. If he does, he should see time on the second line and power-play where his massive shot will thrive. As these three continue to grow and develop together, they have the makings of an extremely potent second line which this team desperately needs.
Dylan Larkin – 21 goals, 40 assists, 61 points
Anthony Mantha – 28 goals, 27 assists, 55 points
Martin Frk – 15 goals, 22 assists, 37 points