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Dylan Larkin Gets the Craig Custance Treatment

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Craig Custance, a favorite of ours, wrote an extremely engaging profile of Dylan Larkin for ESPN.com (not Insider!). Custance covers several topics, but the biggest takeaway is that the Red Wings sensed the "It" factor with Larkin, and were sold on him early in the draft process.

As the 2014 draft approached, the Red Wings very much had their minds made up. They were so convinced they wanted Larkin that the one pre-draft interview they had with him was bland, generic Q-and-A session, so as to avoid tipping him off. The franchise that has unearthed stars from small towns in Sweden and Russia wasn't going to miss one coming up in their backyard.

One of the coolest parts of the piece is when we find out that Larkin and his family were unabashedly pulling for him to end up with the Red Wings.

As the Detroit pick got closer, the Larkin family started the countdown as Arizona, Washington and Dallas all went another direction. At No. 15, Red Wings GM Ken Holland took the stage in Philadelphia.

The moment he said the words, "from Waterford, Michigan," Larkin's mom squeezed his leg. It was happening.

These are just two examples of Custance's superior storytelling in the profile. Some other interesting items include:

  • The Red Wings use an internal +/- statistic to track scoring chances created and allowed
  • Larkin spent lots of time taking notes and  reading his US national team development program manual
  • Lots of commentary on Larkin from Jeff Blashill
  • A story about Larkin playing with a separated shoulder at the 2014 U-18 World Championships and being quite displeased when he was ruled out of the next game
  • An appearance by Doug Brown
  • A request for Larkin's autograph from Hall of Famer and Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay
We're only scratching the surface with this brief summary, so head over to ESPN.com and read the story.