Detroit Red Wings reliance on Dylan Larkin's presence is a handicap

The Detroit Red Wings are reliant on Dylan Larkin for success and it serves as a bit of a handicap for the team at times.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) makes a save on  Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin (71).
New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) makes a save on Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin (71). / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings got back in the win column. Lately, their playoff hopes are reminiscent of the Michael Scott meme where he goes "snip-snap-snap-snap" when talking about having three vasectomies + reversals. Surely a phrase many of you never thought you'd read in a hockey article, but here we are.

Truthfully, the Detroit Red Wings' playoff hopes have been all over. Without Dylan Larkin in the lineup, things were tough. It was a long stretch of tough sledding, and the Red Wings have had to fight and claw to stay in games. There's a drastic difference in the Red Wings play when the team has their captain in the lineup.

Sure, the Edmonton Oilers would not be the same without Connor McDavid, and the Toronto Maple Leafs would not be the same without Auston Matthews. However, the Red Wings are a vastly different team without Dylan Larkin. If the Red Wings are a junkyard dog with Larkin, ready to rock'n'roll, they're a fluffy kitten without Larkin.

Rough analogy aside, with Larkin in the lineup, Detroit looks like a completely different team. They play better top-to-bottom and can get things rolling. The forwards often look lost without their captain, and the team struggles to do much of anything consistently.

Detroit Red Wings are brutal without their captain.

The drastic differences between a Larkin-less Red Wings team and one with their captain in the lineup are quite interesting. Detroit beat up on the Islanders pretty good on Thursday, really getting things going for them offensively. It was Larkin's first game back from injury after missing two weeks and they took it to New York, securing two points for the playoff race. Not to mention, Larkin had two tallies of his own.

The Red Wings are clinging to life on a playoff hunt, but this reliance on Larkin is a problem. Even if the Red Wings do squeak into the playoffs, their ceiling is likely capped at a first-round exit. But making the playoffs is enough of a victory in itself.

Relying on Larkin will become a problem over time. If Detroit wants to compete, it will have to be able to play without Larkin. Injuries happen, and folding under pressure without Larkin could lead to some major issues for Detroit. It was just tough to see Detroit crumble without their captain.

It became a real problem during his absence, leaving the Red Wings to fend for themselves. They needed some serious help, and reliant on one player is a real problem. They have a capable roster, and while they want Larkin in the lineup, the reliance on him to be able to do anything is a problem.

If Detroit wants to enter an era of competing, they need to be able to bring it, no matter who is or isn't in the lineup night in and night out.