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Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Season Projections For Key Red Wings At the 18 Game Mark

We are now 18 games into the Detroit Red Wings’ 2018-19 season, and the Wings currently hold a record of 8-8-2, but today isn’t about the team. Today I’m going to dive into some key/important players on this Red Wings team individually and look at their point totals now and their point projection, assuming they play the rest of the season.

Forwards

Dylan Larkin:

2018-2019 so far, GP:18  G:7  A:11  P:18

2018-2019 on pace, GP:82  G:32  A:50  P:82

2017-2018 season, GP:82  G:16  A:47  P:63

Dylan Larkin is the truly becoming a first line centre in this league. He’s currently on pace to set career highs in goals and assists. Last year was Larkin’s best season individually as a Red Wing, putting up 16 goals and 47 assists for 63 points. This year it looks like he’s taken another step from that. Now that Henrik Zetterberg has retired, Larkin has assumed the role of first line centre, and has become the unofficial captain of this team. All in all, 30 goals is a little high for Larkin in my opinion. I think a more accurate 82 game season for Larkin could be 20-25 goals and 50 assists, for 70-75 points.

Anthony Mantha:

2018-2019 so far, GP:18  G:6  A:2  P:8

2018-2019 on pace, GP:82  G:27  A:9  P:36

2017-2018 season, GP:80  G:24  A:24  P:48

Right off the bat I’d like to say: Anthony Mantha has struggled in the early stages of this season. Only in the last two or three games have we seen the big, strong, sniping, power forward play like he can. Mantha’s season projected assists should go up (he usually has roughly the same amount of goals as he does assists), but as a fanbase I thought we agreed anything less than 30 goals, 30 assists, and 60 points for Anthony Mantha was disappointing? Yeah, he’s got long way to go to preform how we expected him to this season. Mantha’s totals this season are disappointing and should be a lot higher for a player of his skill level.

Andreas Athanasiou:

2018-2019 so far, GP:14  G:7  A:5  P:12

2018-2019 on pace, GP:78  G:39  A:28  P:67

2017-2018 season, GP:71  G:16  A:17  P:33

Double A is currently on pace to double his point totals from last season, which is incredible. Andreas Athanasiou is currently on pace to destroy his most goals and points in a season and I don’t know what to make of it. Yes, he’s a very skilled, fast player, but he’s never put up any numbers quite like he is right now. AA just seems like a completely different player this season, he seems more aware and intelligent on the ice, which is helping his point totals quite a bit. In the end, I feel like he’ll come back down to Earth a bit, maybe 20-25 goals and 20 assists are more reasonable expectations.

Michael Rasmussen:

2018-2019 so far, GP:16  G:3  A:2  P:5

2018-2019 on pace, GP: 80  G:15  A:10  P:25

2017-2018 season (WHL) GP:47  G:31  A:28  P:59

Michael Rasmussen is an interesting one. It’s his NHL rookie season, but he’s already the size of someone who has been in the league for a few years. So far this season, Rasmussen hasn’t exactly torn it up, but he’s already improved significantly since the start of the season. He’s being more physical, and using his 6’6″, 220 pound frame more. That being said, he needs to get even stronger so he’s immovable in front of the net and in tight (which is where he’ll score most of his goals). Rasmussen will greatly improve throughout the season I think, he just needs to really adjust to the size difference and speed of the league. I think Michael is on pace for about what he expected him to put up for goals, maybe if he added a few more assists this season statistically could be considered a win.

Gustav Nyquist:

2018-2019 so far, GP:18  G:2  A:13  P:15

2018-2019 on pace, GP:82  G:9  A:59  P:68

2017-2018 season, GP:82  G:21  A:19  P:40

Gustav Nyquist has had a weird, unexpected start to the season. We all knew Nyquist was losing his centre and set-up man in Zetterberg, but I don’t think we expected Nyquist to turn into such a strong playmaker or a near point-per-game player without Hank. This is a contract year for Nyquist, who will be a UFA this summer. The Red Wings will probably be looking to trade him around the trade deadline, much like they did with Tomas Tatar last year, or they’ll try to re-sign him. All this being said, Nyquist is on pace for a career high in points, with a career low shooting percentage. Realistic expectations for Nyquist would be for his assists to come down a bit, and for him to put up some more goals. Maybe he’ll have a 20 goal, 40 assist season?

Defensemen

Dennis Cholowski:

2018-2019 so far, GP:16  G:3  A:6  P:9

2018-2019 on pace, GP:80  G:15  A:30  P:45

2017-2018 season (WHL), GP:69  G:14  A:52  P:66

Dennis Cholowski made unbelievable strides over last season and the summer. He played himself from being slotted in as a top-4 defenseman in Grand Rapids, to a top-2 defenseman on the Red Wings. Cholowski has arguably been the Red Wings best defenseman this season. Nobody thought we’d be able to say that, but Cholowksi played himself onto this team. That being said, 45 points is a lot to expect from a rookie defenseman. And yes, Cholowski is in the running for the Calder Memorial Trophy as of right now, but he’s got to keep up this pace to get nominated (even if he’s nominated, winning the trophy is a long shot since Elias Pettersson is an absolute animal). Expect Cholowski’s production to fall off slightly before the end of the season.

Mike Green:

2018-2019 so far, GP:9  G:1  A:6  P:7

2018-2019 on pace, GP:73  G:8  A:49  P:57

2017-2018 season, GP:66  G:8  A:25  P:33

Mike Green has been Mike Green this season: great in the offensive end, and “oh no” in the defensive end. And now he’s paired with Trevor Daley, who has been one of the worst defensemen in the league this year. Green typically starts the season quite strong (remember he was an all-star last year). Mike Green typically falls off towards the end of the season, and he’ll be roughly half-a-point-per-game player when this season is said and done.

Nick Jensen:

2018-2019 so far, GP:17  G:2  A:3  P:5

2018-2019 on pace, GP:81  G:10  A:14  P:24

2017-2018 season, GP:81  G:0  A:15  P:15

Last season, Nick Jensen was game in and game out the Red Wings best defenseman, which isn’t saying a lot. This year, Jensen has been a solid defenseman for the Red Wings. He’ll also be a UFA at the end of this season, so expect him to be traded at some point and for Filip Hronek to be called up in his place. Jensen has never been an offensive dynamo, but he’s a solid defenseman, and could be really solid on the bottom pairing of a Cup contending team. Jensen is on pace for 10 more points than he had last season, but I highly doubt he scores 10 times. Maybe 5 times. Which means I project Jensen will end the season with about 20 points. Not bad, not bad at all.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Red Wings haven’t had a bad start to the season, and lots of young players are producing, which gives us some hope for the future. Many Red Wings are on pace for a career-highs, which is either slightly concerning, or gives you some hope.