dome of that i agree with some i dont. IT was true of larkin in that alot of his passes werent connecting and in many instances guys also just werent finishing. That tic tac toe pass between aa mantha and frk is a great example. One of the best passing plays ive seen us make in a long time. Frk got robbed with a toe save.
But this year? Larkin looks great at center. Hes been a bit unlucky around the net as far as goals go, but hes also on pace for around 60-70 points, from the center position. Like AA, hes had his growing pains, both on wing and in the move to center and sometimes, with linemates (got to love when blash put him in between glenny and abby).
AA is following a similar path. I keep reading he cant pass, but hes distributing the puck very well. I keep reading that he cant play defense and wont be a good center (same as with larkin), but when centerring 2 guys that also cant play defense, he and they looked great.
And frk? In watching him? Hes more than a big shot. His passing has been very good. His forechecking and cycling has been very good. Hes not fast, but he works hard and wins alot of battles.
on AA specifically, during this past stretch hes been rocking 20+ mins a game. Frequently getting double shifted. Some at wing with larkin and tatar, and some at center with the "4th" line. Hes looked great in both places.
So that leaves the question. Hes struggled at both wing and center at times. Is this recent surge a matter of details and effort combined with linemates? One that will apply to him whether hes playing wing or center? And isnt it worth finding out?
This year is looking like a wash, like larkin last year, im less concerned with AAs numbers this year and or his production, and more concerned with where he fits in long term. Center would be better for us, recently hes looking like thats a role he can not only handle but thrive in even if there rare some setbacks and a learning curve. I realize AA is a few years older but aa has 130 nhl games to larkins 200.
Also bear in mind the number of guys on this team that either started at center, or moved back and forth throughout the years. Abby and franzen were centers and sometimes franzen moved back (and actually looked better). Helm and glenny have both played a ton of wing. Zetterberg spent most of his career bouncing back and forth from wing to C. In fact he was a much better goal scorer at wing. Filpulla put up some great numbers at wing as well.
Maybe somewhere down the road AA and larkin are our 1-2 punch at center, and late in games down by a goal they play on the same line. You dont know until you try, and right now it seems thats exactly what theyve been doing. They gave him some time at center, with some fairly talented linemates (frk, mantha, even booth isnt that bad) on a 4th line that got favorable matchups in favorable situations. HE struggled. They started moving him to wing and slotting other centers on that 4th line, he struggled. Now he seems to have turned a corner and is thriving in both places.
Lastly id add that his turnaround came immediately after blash called him out, and thats not the first time thats happened. IMO theyve been handling him as they should be, and pressing alot of the right buttons.
and again, for TS, who must not be actually watching the games, a bunch of what AA has done thats positive for the last several games has been WHILE hes playing center. HEs been double shifted like crazy and looks great at both positions.