The Detroit Red Wings got a big surprise when rookie Dylan Larkin came out of the gates on fire. He leads the team with 13 goals and showed he is much more than just a rookie who made the roster. His December did not live up to the first two months, but the season goes in ebbs and flows.
The Red Wings have a very good roster for first year coach Jeff Blashill. Beyond the talented rookie, they have great veterans in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. They have two goalies who can still bring it, in Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek. They have some of the best young established talent in Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
Nyquist showed just how good he could be two seasons ago. He scored 27 goals in 54 games. He was a dynamic scorer when the Red Wings really needed him. Last year, he did not live up to those numbers, but he was still a decent player.
This season, Nyquist has not been good enough. He has been an average player with average stats, and the Red Wings need more than that from him starting now.
The Red Wings are currently on the edge of being in the playoffs. They are tied with the New Jersey Devils as the last two teams in the playoffs.
Larkin is likely to hit a serious rookie wall, maybe worse than he hit in December. The Red Wings could end up dealing with an injury to Zetterberg or Datsyuk. The team will soon be in a position where Nyquist will need to do more. He has to start scoring double-digit points in every month.
Nyquist has enough talent that he has to get better. His first season, he looked like he could eventually become one of the best in the league. Now, he looks like he will be an average player at best. He needs to find a happy medium here and carve out a good career. It starts at the beginning of 2016.