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Red Wings Top 25 Under 25: Dylan Larkin is obviously #1

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Expect Anyone Else at #1?

NHL: Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Center
Height/Weight: 6’1” / 198 lbs
Shoots: Left
Birthday: July 30, 1996 (23 years old)
Birthplace: Waterford, MI
Draft: 2015 1st round (#15 overall)

What do we like about him?

Everything.

Okay and since I can’t just put that, here’s a bit more. Although the announcement came out it’s four alternates again for Detroit, Dylan Larkin will be the Red Wings’ next captain. He is well on his way to becoming an elite center with fantastic playmaking capabilities and, year after year, minus a sophomore slump, he has gotten better and better. He is one of, if not the, fastest players in hockey. He nearly averaged a point-per-game a year ago as well as added 32 goals becoming the first Red Wing with 30 since Marian Hossa in 2008-09 (along with Andreas Athanasiou). He took a giant leap last year in just his overall game and started really becoming one of those players who the puck just finds no matter what. His explosiveness and passion for the game are second-to-none and this entire rebuild now has a face to it and that face wears #71.

What needs work?

The biggest thing Larkin needed to work on was his 200-foot game and goal-scoring abilities. After a 30-goal campaign, it’s safe to say Larkin took that next step offensively. I certainly would like to see a little bit sharper play in the defensive end, but I’m not going to sit here and nitpick him as most of the time he’s the only one on the Red Wings who actually shows up to play every night. Personally, I would like the next step for Larkin to be elevating the play of those around him. Yes, it’s safe to say without Larkin guys like Athanasiou and Bertuzzi aren’t nearly as productive, but I think Larkin will be that good that you will be able to throw anyone on his line and they’ll be a threat to score. With much of the young talent getting better, and hopefully closer, to the elite level Larkin is at, I think the Red Wings top line really could be one of the better lines in hockey (and yes I choose to ignore lines 2-4).

What’s next for him?

For whatever reason, Larkin was not named captain like he should have been. However, I’m not terribly upset with it because obviously Yzerman has a big say in that decision and I think it’s fair to assume Stevie Y knows a bit about leadership. Larkin will be the #1 center for the Red Wings for years to come as he is in year two of a 5-year/$30.5M contract. The hope is we see him touch 80-points this year while safely establishing the Red Wings top line as a threat every time they hit the ice. Eventually, he will own the task of welcoming guys like Zadina, and maybe even Veleno early on, on his line to help them out at the start of their careers. There’s no telling what the ceiling is for Dylan Larkin, but he continues to get better every year and here’s to hoping one day he’s able to lift Lord Stanley with the ‘C’ right there on his jersey.

Here’s some of Larkin’s best work from a year ago to get you even more excited for what’s in store. S/O to awood40 too. The best Red Wings account on Youtube. If anyone wants to kill a few hours at work, go ahead and check out his full page. Awesome stuff.