The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a locker room clean-out day article foreshadowing Dylan Larkin’s appearance in this year’s World Championship, which begins Friday in Denmark, and the Team USA forward spoke bluntly regarding his goals for the tournament:
“I’m going back this year and I want to win,” he said. “It’s experience for me. It’s not being complacent with finishing early April playing hockey. Playing hockey into May is what it is all about. I just think I am young, I have a lot of energy, got a lot of passion. I want to keep playing.”
Playing center at the 2017 Worlds helped Larkin succeed at that position in his third year in the NHL. He played wing his rookie year, 2015-16, and was moved back to wing after struggling at center to start the 2016-17 season. Larkin held his own at the position this season, and had a career-high 63 points. He scored seven goals the last 10 games.
That kind of growth is crucial as the Wings try to regain competitiveness. Larkin is a cornerstone of the rebuilding process, even better than the Wings hoped they were getting when they drafted him 15th overall in 2014. He has a high internal drive to be the best player he can be. Returning to the World Championship is a chance to show he can thrive in big games. Teams play seven preliminary games, and the top four teams in each group advance to quarterfinals.
“Moving forward in my career, the next step is becoming a winner,” Larkin said. “I want to have that extra factor where I take my game to another level to either hold onto a lead or try to get that goal to tie it up or win. I want to better myself.”