It’s being reported that the Detroit Red Wings and captain Dylan Larkin are at a stalemate when it comes to agreeing on a contract extension.
Ansar Khan of MLive recently mentioned that the two sides are in agreement on the length of Larkin’s next deal, an eight-year commitment; the maximum allowed for an NHL team to extend a current player. The maximum term an unrestricted free agent can sign is a seven-year deal. Adding the additional year will help entice pending free agents to remain with their current club rather than signing elsewhere.
With both sides in an agreement on the length of a new deal, the two sides remain apart on the average annual salary. The Red Wings are hoping to get a deal done for $8 million per season, but Larkin’s camp is closer to $9 million per season.
Ansar Khan describes in his article that Yzerman and the Red Wings can offer an eight-year deal at $8 million per season, totaling $64 million. In comparison, other teams this summer willing to pay $9 million per season are capped at a seven-year commitment totaling $63 million. As Khan explained, no one knows or can predict what Yzerman will do, but eight years averaging $8.5 million per season seems like a reasonable end result.
If the Detroit Red Wings can sign Dylan Larkin to a fair long-term contract, it will help the organization bolster the rest of the roster.
It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings lack a pure goal scorer and a second top center to complement Dylan Larkin. Cue the song ‘It takes two’ by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston. Detroit really needs to add a top-tier center to anchor the first or second line. Look at all of the top Red Wings teams of the past. It was Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov, then Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and now it’s Larkin and Andrew Copp. No offense, Copp is a fine player but doesn’t fit the mold of a second-line center. Also, this current tandem doesn’t hold a candle to the previous two mentioned, and that is a problem if the Red Wings hope to finally turn the corner.
Take a look around the league. Every contender has a pair of superstars to lean on up front, and Detroit has a budding star in Larkin, who doesn’t fit the criteria of a superstar. This is not at all a knock on Larkin. Larkin is a tremendous player that holds a lot of value, and despite having another terrific season, Larkin’s 15 goals and 41 points in 44 games this season don’t rank in the league’s top 50 in scoring.
Yzerman and the Red Wings need to carefully navigate the salary cap over these next few seasons in order to make sure they can sign the likes of Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider to long-term extensions, plus surround this core with additional talent. If Yzerman and Larkin can get a deal hammered out that averages $8-8.5 million, it will leave Detroit plenty of room to continue to bolster the lineup in the coming years.
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Using Bo Horvat as an example, if the Red Wings happen to make a deal with the Vancouver Canucks to acquire Horvat and promptly extend him to a similar deal as Larkin, Detroit will still have the flexibility to extend Raymond and Seider in the coming years. Adding a player like Horvat lengthens Detroit’s lineup. The Red Wings could deploy Larkin, Horvat, and Copp down the middle of their top-three lines. Let’s not forget; help is also on the way in the form of Marco Kasper, Elmer Soderblom, and others in the coming years.