Back on July 27th of 2014, the Detroit Red Wings held the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. The Wings drafted a young man by the name of Dylan Larkin from the U.S. National Developmental Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was the first American player taken in the draft at that point. He was touted as a strong two-way player with exceptional speed and hockey sense. Born and raised in the state of Michigan, being drafted by his hometown team had to be quite the thrill for the 17-year old.
Playing one season for Red Berenson at the University of Michigan, Larkin produced 47 points in 35 games for the Wolverines. He wasted little time getting to the NHL. Before the start of the 2015-2016 season, head coach Jeff Blashill announced that the young phenom made the Red Wings’ roster, becoming the first teenager to do so since Jiri Fischer did it during the 1999-2000 season.
It was a story of two seasons for Larkin as a rookie in the NHL. He burst onto the scene right from the get-go, and scored his first NHL goal in the 2015-2016 opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs. There was already a lot of hype surrounding the youngster and scoring on opening night just made the hype that much more crazy. Larkin made the All-Star team as a member of the Atlantic Division, captained by Florida Panthers forward, Jaromir Jagr. The lone Red Wing at the All-Star Game made his presence felt during the Skills Competition the night before the actual game itself. Larkin broke the fastest skater record with a time of 13.117 seconds. The record was previously held by Mike Gartner with a time of 13.386 seconds. In the All-Star Game itself, he produced three points and a plus/minus rating of +1.
Once the second half of the season came around, it seemed as though Larkin hit a plateau.
He went from being a front-runner to receive the Calder Trophy (league’s best rookie) the first half of the season to only scoring 8 goals and having a plus/minus of -13 after the All-Star break. Regardless of the production decrease in the second half, Larkin still proved that he belongs in the NHL at such a young age.
Here are some highlights of Dylan Larkin’s rookie season in Motown.
We hopefully have ourselves a young superstar and future captain in the making in Hockeytown.