The Detroit Red Wings drafted Dylan Larkin in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft from the US National Development Team Program in the USHL.
Because this is a three-part story, we will focus primarily about Dylan Larkin on the ice during practice.
During the drills at the Detroit Red Wings Development Camp, Dylan Larkin showed off his skill, but even though there was a lot to like about the young center he does need to improve in a few areas.
When asked what he needed to improve on the most Larkin said, “Details. The Red Wings have a such good coaching staff that you take the thing they say and really practice them and they become good habits.”
Dylan Larkin was drafted as a playmaking center more than a goalscorer and he proved that distinction and more to be correct.
During the drills, Larkin was able to hit tape on every pass whether is was on the ice or a saucer pass. There were not a lot of drills, which called for a defender to be in the passing lanes, but when there were Larkin was still able to get the puck across to his partner in the drill.
He showed off his blazing speed, which made him one of the faster players to be drafted this year and he might be competing with Darren Helm a few years down the road as the fastest player in Detroit.
The biggest surprise about Larkin is that he is not afraid to be a physical player in the corners or out in front of the net. Usually a player who needs to add more strength and weight is a bit wary about heading into a corner or getting in a battle in front of the net with a bigger player, but not Larkin.
Larkin talked about going to the net and said, “I like to score goals, so you gotta go to those areas to score goals. You see the NHL and even in the Playoffs this year most of the goals were from the point with guys in front, so that is how you score goals now.”
Dylan Larkin will have to work on his strength in order to battle efficiently with NHLers, but he was given a good base by the Detroit Red Wings training staff and will have two or three years to develop with the strength and conditioning staff at Michigan.
There are times when Larkin was thinking too much about the drill or what he was going to do with the puck and it allowed the defenseman to close down on him and make like harder on the young forward. More often than not Dylan was still able to make the play, but even in the NCAA there will not be enough time for him to think while playing.
Defensively, Dylan Larkin needs some work, but the tools are all there for the young center.
More than a few times Larkin would cut his angles too sharp on the back-check and end up having to chase down the other player in the drills. Normally a player with as much speed as Larkin would have no problem chasing a player down, but throughout the entire development camp he was only able to chase down one or two players during drills.
When Dylan Larkin was able to establish positioning in front of the offensive player there was nothing the offensive player could do. Larkin keep body contact with the offensive player through the zone, which allowed him to keep his eyes on the puck and disrupt any pass that came near him.
Dylan Larkin has all the skills teams want in their top draft picks and with two to three years of development under Red Berenson at the University of Michigan, he will be more than ready to make the transition to the NHL/AHL.