Dylan Larkin vs. Connor McDavid Game One Preview


The first handful of regular season games are over and more than a few teenagers have already made an impact on their respective teams. Jack Eichel has dropped some jaws in Buffalo, Noah Hanifin has played with poise beyond his years in Carolina, Connor McDavid has found his groove after a slow start in Edmonton, and Dylan Larkin looks like the present and future of a talented Detroit Red Wings team. Wednesday night at 8:30 pm CT will mark the first meeting of two of these teenage stars on the rise, Dylan Larkin and Connor McDavid. Let’s take a closer look and try to compare these two talented centers.

Size and Physical Ability

Dylan Larkin and Connor McDavid are actually quite similar in size. Larkin is 6′ 1″ tall and weighs in at 190lbs where McDavid is also 6′ 1″ but weighs 5 pounds more at 195. Larkin and McDavid both worked hard during the summer and have shown they are ready to play against men in the NHL. Larkin and McDavid also possess elite speed that they have both used effectively in the first few games of the season. With their speed and work ethic Larkin and McDavid are sure to be impact players for their teams for years to come. I give a slight edge to Larkin though because I feel he uses his speed just as effectively for offense and defense. Jeff Blashill has put Larkin out there in almost every

Supporting Cast

Usually being a number one pick guarantees that you will be on a team that finished near the bottom of the league the year before. The interesting thing about Edmonton is that McDavid is not the only top 5 draft pick on the team. Guys like Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Leon Draisaitl, are all top 5 picks and seem to have a bright future in the NHL. In Edmonton McDavid is considered the missing piece and will be expected to bring together this young group of potential stars. As with Gretzky and the Oilers of the 1980’s it will probably take a few years before the team really gels into a Stanley Cup contender.

Larkin has the great fortune to play alongside Henrik Zettrerberg and Justin Abdelkader. It is nice to see Zetterberg giving pointers to Larkin on the bench and even better to see how strong their chemistry is on the ice. Larkin will definitely benefit from the veteran players on the Red Wings and seems humble enough to make the most out of his opportunity to learn. I can’t wait until Datsyuk is healthy because I want to see how Blashill will juggle the lines with so many quality top six forwards. Any way you look at it Larkin has a lot less pressure than McDavid because of the quality and maturity of the team around him. Larkin can take time and learn from his teammates while McDavid will be expected to take the reins and lead his team.

Early NHL Performance

Connor McDavid is the most highly touted Edmonton Oiler since Wayne Gretzky and there was no doubt that he would make the team this year. He did not score a goal on his first shot in his first game like many fans hoped but it only took him a few games to shake the first goal jitters. McDavid scored his first goal in his third game and has not looked back. Coach Todd McClellan tried using Taylor Hall with McDavid in the first few games but was not satisfied with the result. Eventually McClellan paired McDavid with Nail Yakupov and the two seem to have some chemistry. Yakupov could be that finisher that McDavid needs to showcase his play making skills. After dropping their first four games the Oilers have rebounded and won their last two. With 3 goals and 2 assists, mostly in the last few games, McDavid looks to turn the Oilers into a playoff team this year but will need to improve on his -3 plus/minus rating.

On the other hand, Dylan Larkin walked into a position where he was not even expected to make his team’s opening day roster. With help from some injuries and a dynamic training camp and preseason, Larkin did the seemingly impossible and made a very talented and deep Red Wings team as a teenager. Larkin did not disappoint in his NHL debut notching his first goal and first assist. Larkin has looked comfortable in every situation he has been in and seems to be a very versatile player. Blashill has the confidence to put him in on the power play and the penalty kill. He has shown he can play wing with Zetterberg and Abdelkader and also has proved he can fill the second line center role. Larkin has shown brightly in his first 5 games with 2 goals, 4 assists, and an impressive +7 plus/minus rating. I do not think I could have written a better start for Larkin’s career!

3 things to watch Connor McDavid for

1. Look for McDavid to take control of a shift with his speed, strength, and high hockey IQ.

2. Watch how McDavid’s play making ability makes the players around him better.

3. If McDavid can get a decent number of shots he will probably score. He is the complete package so don’t underestimate his sniping ability.

3 things to watch Dylan Larkin for

1. Watch Larkin even when he does not have the puck. Larkin makes some pretty impressive defensive plays but you need to pay attention to appreciate them.

2. Expect Larkin to use his deceptive speed to create a break away or an odd man rush.

3. Admire one of the most explosive and productive lines currently in the NHL as Hank, Abby, and Larks work their magic.

Wednesday nights game will be our first taste of McDavid versus Larkin and I bet it will be all we hope it will be.

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