CBS Sports’ Sasha Yodashkin discusses “interesting position battles” from a fantasy hockey perspective, and Yodashkin believes that the players who constitute the Red Wings’ first line bear watching going into the 2019-2020 season:
Larkin’s wing men
There’s a major drop in center quality from first-liner Dylan Larkin to second-liner Frans Nielsen, so getting on Larkin’s wing will be imperative to finding Fantasy success in Detroit. Four candidates are in the mix for the two spots around Larkin: Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Andreas Athanasiou and Filip Zadina.
Athanasiou has the highest upside of the group coming off a 30-goal campaign, but his struggles defensively and the desire to infuse the second line with more scoring will likely keep him away from Larkin. Bertuzzi looks like the safest candidate to lock down a top-line role after posting 47 points in his first full NHL season. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Mantha has plateaued with 48 points in each of the past two seasons, so the rebuilding Red Wings would love to give Zadina the right-wing role on the top line over him. But is the sixth overall pick from the 2018 draft ready for that responsibility?
I’m raising an eyebrow regarding the concept that the Red Wings “would love” to see Zadina unseat Mantha on the first line…but that’s just me.