MLive’s Ansar Khan examines the 2018-19 season outlook for Dylan Larkin this morning:
2018-19 outlook: The franchise cornerstone signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract last month and is driven to improve as a player and a leader, likely the next team captain.
He improved significantly following a disappointing second season, adjusting well in his first full season at center. With Henrik Zetterberg not likely to play again due to back issues, Larkin will assume first-line center duty. The challenge is to continue improving offensively (scoring more goals, produce more on power play) while becoming a better defensive player. He needs to be more on the inside instead of using his speed to carry the puck around the perimeter in the offensive zone.
His drive and desire can’t be questioned. His motor is always on high and he is highly motivated to maximize his potential.
It remains to be seen who his wingers at the start of the season will be, but Anthony Mantha and 2018 top pick Filip Zadina are possibilities.
Khan continues, and I’m wondering whether Larkin will in fact be utilized as the Wings’ #1 center in all situations. I still see the coaching staff choosing to tab Frans Nielsen as the Wings’ shut-down center in defensive situations.