Wings re-sign Larkin to 5-year, $30.5 million contract
Waterford’s Dylan Larkin, who signed a five-year deal with the Red Wings Friday: “It’s a huge honor to play in my hometown, to have this commitment of five years, to be a Red Wing for five years.”
Waterford native Dylan Larkin is a three-year NHL veteran who has never played on a league team based outside of Michigan.
And that will continue to be the case for at least five more years, thanks to a five-year deal he signed Friday with the Red Wings worth $30.5 million (cap hit of $6.1 million annually).
Larkin’s entry-level three-year contract, which was worth $925,000 each season, expired this past July 1.
“First, it’s a huge honor to play in my hometown, to have this commitment of five years, to be a Red Wing for five years,” Larkin, 22, said on a teleconference. “Feel good about getting this done. My family and I feel real proud that they made this commitment to me … It feels great.”
In his career after Youth hockey, Larkin has played at the National Team Development Program, which was then based in Ann Arbor; the University of Michigan; with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League for a short time, and the Red Wings.
“Feel pretty emotional about it … Proud to be from Waterford, being a local boy playing with the Detroit Red Wings,” Larkin said and then joked: “My parents now, I think they’re pretty sick of going to games …”
General manager Ken Holland certainly is not sick of seeing Larkin play in a Wings uniform.
“He’s a really important player in the organization for a whole lot of reasons,” Holland said on the teleconference. “He’s a center, so that’s important.”
Larkin took huge strides in 2017-18, his first full season at the position, playing well offensively and defensively, improving on face-offs and leading Detroit in scoring with 63 points (16 goals and 47 assists).
“I thought last year, everything came together,” Holland said. “He’s learning to be an NHL center, learning to be a 200-foot all-around player.”’
Larkin’s competitiveness and drive to continually get better also contributed to the team’s desire to lock him up with a long-term deal.
“Everybody loves to win; Dylan hates to lose. I think that’s an important intangible,” Holland said. “He’s got a lot of passion, a lot of will, a lot of determination … I think he’s slowly becoming a young player with leadership qualities.”
Larkin talked about his development in that area.
“I think my three years, the leadership part for myself, is a natural thing,” he said. “As the three years have gone, I’ve learned and become more mature … Being around leaders like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader, Trevor Daley, I’ve been able to be myself.
“I don’t think I’ll try to be anything I’m not … I want to drive the bus and be that go-to guy – the main cog that’s going to turn us around and get us back in the playoffs.”
He will likely be the team’s next captain, succeeding Zetterberg.