One of the biggest items on Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman’s checklist this offseason is a potential contract extension with captain Dylan Larkin. The 25-year-old center is signed through 2022-23 and would become an unrestricted free agent next offseason if a deal isn’t reached. It seemed as though Yzerman and the Red Wings front office would be negotiating that extension with KO Sports, but last night Max Bultman of The Athletic reported that Larkin has changed representation. He’s now with CAA, represented by Matt Williams and NHL super-agent Pat Brisson.
It appears as though that was a very unexpected decision, given the statement that Kurt Overhardt, CEO of KO Sports, released to Bultman today:
From a relationship standpoint, Dylan Larkin worked primarily with my business partner, Joe Oliver. Throughout the past 11 years, Joe has thoughtfully guided Dylan through countless matters both on and off the ice. There was never a single issue raised between Dylan and Joe for the entirety of their professional relationship and Joe was completely blindsided by this decision. For the past several months, Joe had been working directly with Dylan in preparation to negotiate his contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings.
As with all of our clients, our work on behalf of Dylan was at the highest standard in all situations. We are very disappointed in his decision and the timing.
Obviously, the interest of the agents is to remain with a client through what should be a massive negotiation, and Overhardt’s statement should be taken with a grain of salt. But it does confirm for Red Wings fans that Larkin is ready to negotiate this offseason–or at least was with his previous representation.
While KO Sports is no small outfit, moving to CAA takes Larkin right to the top. Brisson has more than $1B in negotiated active contracts according to PuckPedia, including clients like John Tavares, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Anze Kopitar, all players with an average annual value of at least $10MM. For what it’s worth (which may be nothing), Brisson currently has just one client with the Red Wings–Jared McIsaac–and none with Yzerman’s former outfit in Tampa Bay.
Larkin is coming off quite the platform year to start negotiating. Reinvigorated by his young, up-and-coming teammates, the speedy forward scored 31 goals and 69 points in 71 games. His overall production is similar to CAA client Matt Duchene through the early part of his career; Duchene ended up signing a seven-year, $56MM contract with the Nashville Predators when he hit the open market in 2019. He did negotiate a multi-year deal with the Red Wings for Anthony Mantha in 2020.
Players signed through 2022-23 are eligible for extensions on July 13, when free agency opens this year.