Through two seasons and 160 games Larkin has spent roughly three quarters of his time playing on the wing, but according to him that will all change this season. He considers himself going into camp as the third center on the Red Wings depth chart “right behind Henrik Zetterberg and Frans Nielsen.” His confidence in playing in his natural position has been backed up by his coach who said “his best attributes are utilized when he plays center.” Learning from one of the games best two-way centers of the last decade has helped Larkin’s growth, “It was a learning curve (last season) and I think I got, at least, on the upward trend of that curve. Now I just gotta keep moving forward. I don't think, going into next season, there should be any learning. It's just playing hockey.”
A Look Back:
Larkin was outstanding as a rookie, bringing fans out of their seats beginning in his first game.
It’s no secret to anyone who watched the Red Wings play last season that Dylan Larkin regressed statistically and struggled during his brief transition to his natural position at center ice. He began the season at the dot, but after a few games Head Coach Jeff Blashill moved him back to the wing where he remained until it was fairly clear that the season was going to be served as more of a learning tool for its younger players, rather than a playoff run. Although his numbers regressed with added responsibility and being a more focal point of opposing defensive schemes he still managed a few highlight moments this past season, including his first of the year.
His drive to improve should help him grow his numbers from the 16-17 “sophomore slump” season. He is entering the final year of his contract and will look to (with any luck) make Ken Holland’s summer of 2018 even more difficult than this summer has proven for him. A strong showing with team USA at the World Championships where he was second in team scoring with 10 points and paced his team with 8 assists is a solid indicator.
Look for Larkin to regain the spark he showed during his inaugural season playing against a mid-level of competition as he learns to grow into the top tier 200-foot center of the Wings future the team and fans hope he can become.
How many points will Larkin get in 2018?
This poll is closed
20G 40A = 60P
15G 35A = 50P
25G 45A = 70P
20G 25A = 45P