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2016-17 Red Wings Outlook: Dylan Larkin

POSITION: Center

AGE: 20

CONTRACT: 2016-17 will be the second year of a three-year entry level deal. His cap his this season is $925,000.

2015-16 REGULAR SEASON STATS: 80 games, 23 goals, 22 assists, 34 PIM, +11 rating

2015-16 PLAYOFF STATS: Five games, one goal, 18 penalty minutes, -2 rating

CAREER REGULAR SEASON STATS: 80 games, 23 goals, 22 assists, 34 PIM, +11 rating

CAREER PLAYOFF STATS: Five games, one goals, 18 penalty minutes, -2 rating

DYLAN LARKIN GOAL

Dylan Larkin exploded onto the scene for the Red Wings last season. Not only did he score in his first career game, but he emerged as one of Detroit’s go-to leaders on offense. He was also Detroit’s lone representative at the 2016 NHL All-Star game in Nashville, and also broke the NHL’s All-Star Fastest Skater record. Not bad for a kid from Michigan who grew up watching the Red Wings on TV.

Unfortunately, Larkin’s offensive production began to fade as the season wore on. A rookie in the NHL, he wasn’t used to the grueling 82 game schedule and constant travel across two countries, and only scored five goals in the final 28 games of the regular season. He also scored one goal in Detroit’s five-game opening round loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Larkin enters his second season in the NHL with a new position on the ice – center. After being used mostly on the wing last year, coach Jeff Blashill made the move hoping to utilize Larkin’s speed and playmaking abilities against the opposition’s top lines. Detroit will look to Larkin to once again lead the way on offense, while preferably avoiding the second-half slump he experienced last year. He could see see time playing on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and newcomer Frans Nielsen to start the season.

BIGGEST QUESTION: Will Larkin be able to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump and build on his successful rookie year?

2016-17 PROJECTION: 82 games, 28 goals, 25 assists

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