Detroit Red Wings prospect profile: Dylan Larkin

The eighth edition of my Red Wings prospect profile series examines this year’s first round draft pick: Dylan Larkin.

Center – Waterford, Michigan – Turns 18 Years Old on July 30th

6-foot-1, ~190 pounds – Shoots Left-handed

Drafted 15th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft

Career Stats (Regular Season Only)

Detroit Red Wings

Strengths / Weaknesses

+ Speed, Skating, Character

Offensive Production

“Think of Darren Helm but better scoring ability. He’s got that type of disruptive speed. He comes at you defensively. He comes at you offensively. He’s got guts, he’s got lots of skill, lots of speed,” from TSN scout Craig Button.

The Michigan native Dylan Larkin grew up idolizing Steve Yzerman and, like Yzerman, he comes off as a class act and plays every shift like it’s his last. While every scout can identify talent, it takes a special talent with a lot of heart and soul to be singled out as a true leader.

It’s incredibly hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact he is only 17 years old (nearly 18). The way he handled the whole draft process (video below) is a formidable sign of the type of person the Red Wings brought into the organization.

One of the few obstacles Larkin is going to have to overcome on his way to the NHL is producing at a constant level. The Red Wings already have enough streaky scorers. Dylan needs to lead by example on the ice as well as off it.

detroit red wings

Having speedsters Helm and Larkin anchor separate lines would be dangerous one-two punch.

NHL Comparisons

  • Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche)
  • Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings)
  • Darren Helm (Detroit Red Wings)

Larkin has speed to burn but at the same time isn’t afraid to get physical which makes it hard to find an accurate NHL comparison. The one I like best is a hybrid between Darren Helm’s speed and Justin Abdelkader’s grit with the hope that he can develop a scoring touch similar to Tomas Tatar’s.

Outside of the Wings’ organization a bigger version of Matt Duchene or a smaller, left-handed shooting version of Jeff Carter would be solid representations if Larkin reaches his fullest potential. Both possess the world-class speed Larkin brings to the table.

Evaluations Future 2nd Line Center

Hockey’ N/A

The Wings lacked depth at the center position heading into the draft and decide to fill those needs by take five centers out of their seven picks. Looking ahead to the next 4-5 years, it’s not that crazy to say that is on the right track by projecting Larkin as a 2nd line center.

Pavel Datsyuk’s career is sadly coming to end, Stephen Weiss has yet to prove himself as valuable, and scouts believe Larkin’s upside will give him the edge over Helm, Riley Sheahan, Joakim Andersson, and Luke Glendening. By taking all that into account we are left with the captain Henrik Zetterberg or possibly Tatar as the top line center ahead of Larkin.

But, even if he doesn’t completely develop like everyone thinks he will then Dylan should still be able to find himself with at least a 3rd or 4th line job because of his great work ethic and willingness to be coached.

Next Season

Larkin is off to college and will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall. He will be coached by Red Berenson on a Wolverines’ roster that is loaded with talented centers. This will likely force Larkin into playing on the left and right wings as a freshman. Not a big deal, but it’s worth mentioning.

His current time table on joining the Red Wings organization is roughly four years. There is the possibility of him playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins after his sophomore or junior year. Larkin addressed the issue by saying following, “I’m committed for four years. I have an option to leave after the second year, I think, and I think I’ll look at it and see what’s planned and really look at it with my family.”

Hopefully we get to see Dylan Larkin pull on a Red Wings’ sweater sooner rather than later to play with the big boys at Joe Louis Arena (or whatever the new arena is going to be called).

Other Red Wings’ Prospect Profiles

Let me know in the comments below which prospect you would like to see profiled next.

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