While it's been an up and down season for the Detroit Red Wings, one key consistent for the team has been the play of captain Dylan Larkin.
Since scoring the first goal of the season on opening night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he's been one of the most consistent producers on the roster, and there's been a major difference in their overall play when he's been absent from the lineup.
With nine goals so far this season, he's already eclipsed his total from last year and is currently on pace for 37 tallies, which would be a career best. Needless to say, he's proven himself as one of the most important elements of the roster looking to take the next step in their rebuilding process.
“He felt like he has more to offer and he has played really good this year when he’s played,” coach Jeff Blashill said.
Of course, Larkin has missed multiple games this season, starting with his one-game suspension following his retaliatory punch to the face of Lighting forward Mathieu Joseph, an action that was very well received by the fan base for the captain standing up for himself. He also missed a handful of games earlier in the month while tending to a personal family matter.
“It’s not been that easy,” Blashill said. “It’s been a lot of stops and starts in terms of the games he’s been in, and the games he hasn’t been able to play. He’s done a really good job of staying focused on what he can control and that’s his effort level, his output in games, and he’s done a good job.”
Larkin also missed the third period of last week's game against the Dallas Stars after what turned out to be a false-positive COVID-19 test.
Regardless, Larkin is grateful for the time that he has with his teammates.
“The highs and lows of this league, they're pretty dramatic at times especially if you let them,” Larkin said. “At times, I've really let them get to me. This year, I've really worked on not letting that happen and whether it's going well or not, or other things have come into your life and take you out of the lineup for a week, or you can't play in the third period, I'm just trying not to let it get to me and be grateful I'm here.”
– – Quotes via The Detroit News Link – –