The Detroit Red Wings are starting to wrap things up on their busy offseason. While General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman may be wrapping things up, there is still more that he needs to do. He needs to get a contract extension worked out with his captain, Dylan Larkin, to take some of that pressure off of him.
It has been a tumultuous career in the NHL for Dylan Larkin, who is heading into his eighth season in the NHL and his fifth as a captain of the Detroit Red Wings. He's seen the Red Wings as a playoff contender and seen them as the lowest of the lows during the rebuild.
The captaincy itself has had its ups and downs as well. At times he has been a loose cannon, the young kid still feisty and getting himself into trouble on the ice. But now, at 26 years old, he has started to settle in with a little more composure, showing more qualities of a seasoned leader.
With Larkin becoming a real veteran, with players like Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider being the youngsters, Larkin is now the leader of the locker room. He's someone these younger players are looking up to, and without a contract extension in place, there might be some internal motivation from Larkin.
Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin with the pressure on him in 2022-23.
Larkin was able to snap back into a top-tier performance role. In 2021-22, Larkin played in 71 games where he tallied 31 goals and 38 assists for 69 total points. It was the second-highest point total of his career and helped him look like the player the Red Wings hoped he could be.
As the Red Wings weigh out the options ahead of the 2022-23 season, it's understandable as to why the team is waiting to hand out an extension, but it needs to happen soon. Rather than letting this drag out and possibly moving Larkin at the trade deadline as a rental if the season goes to the dumps, lock up their captain.
Letting Larkin go is a hard sell in any event. Even with Yzerman at the helm of the rebuild and trusting the Yzerplan, I have a hard time letting Larkin go. There's pressure from Larkin to get a deal worked out and maintain a high performance on the ice.
Beyond that, he has to come back in 2022-23 and be a great leader once again. He has made strides in that department, especially more recently, so carrying that momentum will be important. The pressure for Larkin comes in the form of the contract extension.
Even if known that something will get worked out, Larkin has to continue excelling on the ice with this cloud above him. The Red Wings should work to get something worked out with Larkin as soon as possible. It'll make things easier for all parties involved.
The Red Wings will have their captain locked up, and Larkin gets peace of mind and can focus on being this team's leader and his on-ice performance.