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    Dylan Larkin – Fan Favorite or On His Way Out?

    Captain Dylan Larkin‘s current contract is up after the current season, and we don't know his actual plan for the future.

    As we've all heard a time or two by now, Dylan Larkin is currently scheduled to become a free agent at the season's end. His current contract, which he signed before the 2018-19 season, was for five years and $30.5 million.

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    Larkin of course has said that he doesn't want to play anywhere other than Detroit. He also confirmed that negotiations for a new pact were underway back in September. “We’re having conversations. A lot of negotiating, going back and forth,” he told Elliotte Friedman. “Ultimately, in my heart, it’s where I want to be.”

    To start, let me say that I fully expect Larkin to sign an extension with Detroit and play the rest of his career here. For the sake of conversation though, let's take a look at some of the options that are still on the table at this point.

    The Case for Trading Dylan Larkin

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    Sure, it's an option. One that has even been brought up by hockey writer Frank Seravalli. But, it's not a very good one. Firstly, it would be tough to do so because of the fact that Larkin has a full no-trade clause. This means that he cannot be traded without his approval on the destination. Naturally, Steve Yzerman could get a king's ransom for Larkin in a trade. Although it would cost them an arm and a leg, there would be a laundry list of teams at least interested in acquiring him.

    But again, it all comes back to the fact that Larkin has the final say in any trades involving him. By rights, he could simply say no to any transactions presented to him and walk in free agency.

    Dylan Larkin: Free Agent Signing for Another Team?

    If he is going to leave Detroit, the most likely path would be via free agency. On the open market, he could command a seven-year deal at the most. He would command a hefty salary, but teams looking to make a big splash in free agency are generally accepting of that fact. Instead of paying the premium cost that it would require in a trade (which again, is far from likely) than risk losing him at the end of the season, Larkin's most likely way out of Detroit is through the free agent market. To repeat, however: I do not think this is going to happen!!!!

    The Case for Dylan Larkin to Remain in Detroit

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    Oh, where to begin? Born and raised in Michigan, and never having played organized hockey for a team outside of the mitten, can you legitimately imagine him playing for any other team? He's the captain of the team, the best player on the team, and quite frankly the heart and soul of the organization at this point.

    The chemistry that he has developed over the last season-plus with Tyler Bertuzzi (who is currently out for an extended period of time with an injury) and second-year forward Lucas Raymond has been incredible to watch. They've become one of the most entertaining lines in the NHL. The cool part? All of those players are home-grown talents. That has to mean something, right?

    As I've said a couple of times already, I fully expect Dylan Larkin to extend with Detroit and finish his career with the Red Wings. But when it comes time, what might that contract look like?

    Contract Comparisons in the NHL

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    For the sake of comparing him to other NHL centers, let's first look at his career stats. In 507 games, he has tallied 148 goals and 214 assists for 362 points. That averages out to about .71 points per game. His best season production-wise was in 2018-19, when he played in 76 games and scored 32 goals with 41 assists for 73 points. Here are some current contracts for players with similar production levels.

    Anze KopitarLos Angeles Kings: 1,216 career games, 1,073 points (.88 per game). Signed an eight-year contract worth $80 million in 2015.

    Tyler SeguinDallas Stars: 829 career games, 691 points (.83 per game). Signed an eight-year contract worth $78.8 million in 2019.

    Brayden PointTampa Bay Lightning: 421 career games, 370 points (.88 per game). Signed an eight-year contract worth $76 million in 2022.

    Mathew BarzalNew York Islanders: 366 career games, 315 points (.86 per game). Recently signed an eight-year extension worth $73.2 million.

    Official Prediction for Dylan Larkin's Future with Detroit

    Yes, it's going to be a big contract. Good players get nice contracts! After comparing Larkin to some of the similar players above, it seems likely that he will command the eight-year contract extension that only the team that the player played with last can offer (nobody else can offer more than seven years). The biggest question lies in the value of the contract. Will there be any kind of hometown discount? Steve Yzerman is notorious for locking up contracts that are best for the team, will he do the same with Larkin?

    My official prediction is in. I believe that sometime this season, Dylan Larkin will sign an eight-year extension worth a total of $75 million.


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