Not only will there be a battle for ground in the standings when the Buffalo Sabres host the Detroit Red Wings on Friday evening but another contest will also be on display.
Buffalo and Detroit each have an American-born rookie forward on their respective rosters who is garnering a lot of attention. Sabres’ forward Jack Eichel and Red Wings’ forward Dylan Larkin are both having solid rookie campaigns. Both of these young stars have the talent and potential to develop into elite players in the not-so-distant future.
Currently, the Red Wings are in third place in the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, Buffalo sits 11 points out of the final wild card spot. Friday night’s game is the fourth regular season meeting between Buffalo and Detroit and it is their final 2015-16 tilt at the First Niagara Center.
As Buffalo and Detroit jockey for positioning in the standings, Larkin and Eichel continue to develop into strong players. These two youngsters will bring new energy to the battles between these Atlantic division foes in the seasons to come.
Dylan Larkin Voted to All Star Team
Dylan Larkin is a native of Waterford, Mich. and he was selected 15th overall by Detroit in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The 19-year-old got out of the gate very strong for the Red Wings scoring 3 goals and 8 points in Detroit’s 11 games in the month of October. Larkin leads all rookies with four game winning goals and he has quickly become a very valuable player for the Red Wings.
In 45 games, Larkin has scored 14 goals and 30 points. The youngster has contributed to his club in a variety of ways this season. Larkin has earned ice time with Detroit’s top line alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. He is a speedy forward and this quickness has been utilized in many situations.
Larkin currently leads all rookies and is fourth overall in the NHL in +/- with a plus 21. According to EliteProspects.com, Larkin has been scoring at an average of 0.67 points per game. The youngster was recently named to the 2016 NHL All Star team and he is the first Detroit Red Wings rookie to receive this honor since Steve Yzerman.
Jack Eichel-Mania in Buffalo
After a second consecutive last place finish by the Buffalo Sabres during the 2014-15 season, the club drafted forward Jack Eichel with the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Eichel immediately took Buffalo by storm with his strong work ethic and personality. You can sense the heightened energy whenever Eichel gains possession of the puck on home ice as Eichel-mania continues to sweep through Buffalo.
Through 47 games, Eichel has 14 goals and 30 points. A native of North Chelmsford, Mass., the rookie is third on the Sabres in scoring behind Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen.
The Sabres rookie has performed well in Buffalo’s previous games against the Red Wings this season. According to NHL.com, Eichel has two goals, won 17 of 25 faceoffs, and he has logged big ice time averaging 19:39 minutes in three games against Detroit this season.
Eichel has 16 points in his last 15 games. While the Sabres have a 9-14-2 record at home, Eichel has scored 16 of his 30 points at the First Niagara Center. Eichel and Larkin will renew their rookie rivalry on Friday evening and this competition is poised to intensify as the youngsters continue their development in the coming seasons.
[See Also: Buffalo Sabres Number 90 History]
Tim joined The Hockey Writers in July 2013. He began his tenure with THW by covering the Minnesota Wild and he now writes on the Buffalo Sabres. Tim completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University at Buffalo. In addition, he is a published historian and a Baltimore Orioles Contributing Writer for LegendsOnDeck.com. Tim’s work for THW has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @TOHockeyTHW