For many Wings fans, Dylan Larkin is not only the future, but the present of the franchise.
With few other young offensive talents projected to perform exceptionally in the future, Larkin’s been given some very large expectations very early in his career. As Henrik Zetterberg pushes into the stretch drive of his career and the team moves forward into a new era, Larkin’s 2016-17 season should be a very, very interesting one to keep an eye on.
Dylan Larkin’s career arc is a rather storybook one. Growing up in nearby Waterford, Michigan, Larkin’s path is a one that’s hard to have ignored so far. A star year at the University of Michigan for the 1996 birthdate was followed by a brief appearance in the 2015 Calder Cup playoffs.
There’s not much to write about Larkin that you probably haven’t heard. He’s a fan favourite and still has much of his career ahead of him. But, it’s important to properly evaluate a young player, and make sure we’re not putting too heavy a load on a player simply because he’s something unique in the Detroit organization.
Last year’s stats
Larkin’s stats by themselves weren’t mind-blowing for a 19-year old rookie, but still very respectable in their own right. Finishing third on the Wings in scoring last season, Larkin pushed ahead for 23 goals and 22 assists in 80 games. On the advanced side of the equation, Larkin put up a 51.91% on-ice Corsi For at 5v5, while putting up a 102.1 PDO.
By age and point production, Dylan Larkin’s most comparable season since 2010 is actually Evander Kane’s 2010-11 season, where he put up 43 points over 73 games. Kane’s NHL career high has since been 57 points in the following 2011-12 year.
This year’s projection
It’s always a challenge to figure out exactly where a player will project, especially with just a limited sample of data such as one season.
Looking at conventional analytics wisdom would likely bring those numbers down this season, but with a number of factors (i.e changes in personnel and an increased role in ice time), it’s possible Larkin’s rate stats may decrease though his point production may maintain similar over the season. I’d estimate him having a high probability of staying somewhere in the 45-55 point range if healthy for the full course of the year.
(For what it’s worth, our friends at DailyFaceoff.com project Larkin to get 53 points this upcoming year.)