Red Wings Player Grades: Dylan Larkin Will be Just Fine

The Detroit Red Wings slapped the C on hometown favorite Dylan Larkin this season. The 2014 first round draft pick has dazzled since he set foot on the ice at training camp back in 2015. The longest tenured Red Wing on the roster, big things were expected from the captain.

While reviews were mixed, Larkin still held strong in a season that was another transition for a rebuilding team.

Previous Player Report Cards:
Thomas Greiss | Jakub Vrana | Taro Hirose | Richard Panik | Jonathan Bernier

2021 Statline:
Goals: 9
Points: 11
ixG (via Evolving-Hockey): 13.18
GAR (via Evolving-Hockey):   -2.9
WAR (via Evolving-Hockey):  -0.5
G/60 (via Evolving-Hockey): 0.6
P/60 (via Evolving-Hockey): 1.54

Preseason Projections:
Leading by example on and off the ice.

2021 Season in a Nutshell

As the season wore on, it felt like something was just off with Larkin. After being shelved near the halfway point of the season due to an injury, Larkin was buzzing around the ice upon return. This led many to speculate that maybe he needed a chance to rest from whatever was ailing him.

His season ended after taking a nasty cross check from Jamie Benn to the neck, and the captain skated gingerly off the ice and wouldn’t take another shift in the 2020-21 season.

He was one of the few Red Wings this season who could generate offense, carry the puck into the zone, and play a full 200 foot game.

The worrying part was his fall off statistically. Again, some of this can be attributed to Larkin  battling injury during the season. (He ended up missing 12 of the 56 games). Some of it can also be attributed, as stated in other analysis, to a low risk system that didn’t want to allow for many chances offensively. Finally, the team isn’t chock of full of offensive firepower. With key players going down with injury, there wasn’t much Larkin could do alone.

The numbers dropping are worrisome, but it could end up being an outlier in his career.

They said it

“Dylan is an extremely competitive and driven player who sets the standard for dedication and conduct for the Red Wings. This is the right time to name our new captain and we’re certain Dylan is ready to take on the responsibility. He will be an outstanding leader for us, both on and off the ice.” Steve Yzerman via Detroit Red

Final Grade:


C, Detroit Red Wings


This is as subjective of a grade as I can possibly hand out. Larkin is the face of a Detroit Red Wings squad crying out for more talent. He’s boxed into a system that leans less on creativity and more on being in the right spot. He fought through injury valiantly and lined up to answer the tough questions when he had to.

His numbers were disappointing and it’s something to be watched as the Yzerplan continues to take shape. But premature declarations by some that Larkin is a second or third line center is preposterous. The defensive schematics along with above average goaltending saved this team from a far worse record.

The regression is certainly something to take note of, but some time off, and presumably more talent arriving next season should see a bounce back season from the new captain.