The Athletic’s Max Bultman offers a “question to consider” for each and every one of the Red Wings’ players expected to make the 2019-2020 season roster:
Dylan Larkin: Can he repeat the production … but rein in the penalties?
Of all the question marks on the Red Wings roster, Larkin’s not one of them. He’s the unquestioned best player on the team, a two-way center who led the team in points while playing against other teams’ top lines. And considering the steps he’s taken in each of the last two seasons, plus how much he’s on the ice (he played the ninth-most minutes per game in the league last season among forwards), the first part of this question should be simple enough for him.
The real curiosity, then, is whether Larkin can do so while cutting back on his 75 penalty minutes from a year ago. That number placed him with the 20th-most penalty minutes among all forwards last year, more than Vegas enforcer Ryan Reaves. Some of that is probably due to Larkin’s general playing style — he certainly hustles back on defense but can occasionally get overly aggressive when stick-checking, for example — but there’s still there’s room to shave, say, 15-20 of those minutes off next season. That may not seem like a ton over an 82-game season, but this is a Red Wings team that needs every edge it can get. And it’s not just about keeping opponents off the power play; Larkin’s speed can make him a weapon on the penalty kill, but not if he’s the one in the box.