Captain Dylan Larkin’s impact has been felt early on in the Detroit Red Wings‘ season. The Red Wings are only three games into their 2022-23 season. It is too early to draw any major conclusions about what the Red Wings team will look like at the end of the season. What has been evident thus far is the effort that the team has put forward. This is why new head coach Derek Lalonde, and a number of free agents were brought in by general manager Steve Yzerman. Yzerman said that the team needed to be harder to play against. They have certainly shown that to Lalonde and his coaching staff early on this season.
In his introductory press conference, Lalonde echoed Yzerman’s sentiment by saying that winning will come as the result of a process. If the players on the Red Wings do things the right way, the winning will follow. In the team’s third game of the 2022-23 season against the Los Angeles Kings captain, Larkin took this to heart as he dove to stop Viktor Arvidsson who would have scored on the Red Wings’ empty net. The issue during this game was the fact that the Kings came back and tied the game after every time the Red Wings took the lead. Larkin"s impact on one game could only be felt so much.
Dylan Larkin"s Impact Felt on Scoresheet in 2021-22
Larkin has scored a goal and added 3 assists thus far in the NHL season. This is coming off of a 2021-22 season that saw him return to form after a neck injury cut his previous season short. Dylan Larkin"s impact was felt during the 2021-22 season in which he scored 31 goals scored and 38 assists in 71 games played. His season was cut short due to a core muscle injury. What remains to be seen is whether or not Larkin will sign a contract with the team as he will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. For his part, Larkin has said that he wants to remain a Red Wing.
Larkin"s impact on this game would earn the team a point against a Stanley Cup playoff team the year before shows that he has taken Lalonde’s message to heart. The younger players on the team can learn from this effort which will be good in the long run. Rookie right-winger Elmer Söderblom has shown in the first three NHL games that he has played why he deserved to make the Red Wings’ opening night roster. This does not necessarily mean that he will play the entire season with the Red Wings.
A player who is as big as Söderblom can even think about tipping the puck up to himself as he crosses into the Red Wings’ offensive zone shows how special he could one day be. At 6’8" he has the size to be a nightmare for the other team’s defense, night in and night out. His size in relation to the other players on the ice is immediately evident. Even though he did not score, the size and reach of Söderblom forced the Kings to take a penalty. Söderblom and the other Red Wings players can certainly learn from Larkin"s impact not only early on the season but also last season.
Larkin"s Supporting Cast
No player on the Red Wings’ current roster has shown more effort on every shift than Tyler Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, injured his hand against the New Jersey Devils which means that the other Red Wings need to step up. Bertuzzi is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with a hand injury. The play of the Red Wings during Bertuzzi’s absence will be a referendum on whether or not they re-sign the 27-year-old or are comfortable trading him. Larkin"s impact will need to be felt more in the absence of Bertuzzi.
Perhaps the diving stop by Larkin is just one play in an 82-game NHL season. Or, the Red Wings stun the hockey world and make it into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The number of free agents brought in by Yzerman during the offseason makes it unlikely that they will be in a position to draft Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, or Matvei Michkov in the 2023 NHL draft. Larkin"s impact on the rest of the Red Wings’ roster will ensure this.
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