While many players who are just a year away from trips to unrestricted free agency, such as J.T. Miller or David Pastrnak have seen their names floated in various degrees of trade rumors, Detroit Red Wings fans have not had to face a similar degree of speculation regarding their own prominent 2023 free agent: Dylan Larkin. That’s because Larkin, 25, was born only 45 minutes outside of Detroit, played at the University of Michigan, and now captains the NHL team he grew up rooting for. He’s been attached by the hip to the Red Wings for most of his life, either as a fan or player, and many have assumed that his relationship with the team would endure through any potential contract hiccups.
That seems to be what’s most likely to happen. Per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Red Wings “are believed to be working on an extension” for Larkin and GM Steve Yzerman has in the past communicated a desire to get Larkin signed to a new long-term deal. Larkin had a career year 2021-22, setting a career-high in points-per-game and effectively bouncing back from what was a miserable, 23-point 2020-21 campaign. Larkin has had his bouts of inconsistency, but at his best he’s a near point-per-game top-six center. In a market where a center with a weaker offensive resume like Kevin Hayes can earn above $7MM on a long-term extension and comparable centers such as Tomas Hertl are making $8MM or more on their own deals, expect a decent raise for Larkin from the $6.1MM cap hit he’s played on for the past few seasons.
Now, for some other notes regarding extension business this offseason:
- As part of his 32 Thoughts blog, Friedman reported on quite a few extension situations across the NHL, touching on Larkin as well as Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson. Olofsson, who turns 27 this month, played 2021-22 on a $3.05MM cap hit and could be looking for a raise after a strong offensive season. Olofsson’s negotiation is an important one for the Sabres and GM Kevyn Adams, as Olofsson is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent who is precariously close to a trip to unrestricted free agency. A native of Ornskoldsvik, a Swedish hockey hotbed, Olofsson scored 20 goals and 49 points in 72 games this past season and also has an impressive 42-point 54-game rookie campaign. Per Friedman, the Sabres “are making progress” on an extension with Olofsson, and have “boatloads of cap space” to get it done. All indications point to the talented sniper remaining in Buffalo for the foreseeable future.
- One pending free agent situation where an extension might not be possible is with Minnesota Wild winger Nicolas Deslauriers. Per Friedman, the Wild want to keep Deslauriers, and GM Bill Guerin “would already have Deslauriers re-signed” if it were possible. But unfortunately for the Wild, the cap constraints imposed by the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts could keep the Wild from being true contenders in what is expected to be a “hot market” for Deslauriers. As a result, Friedman believes the Wild “won’t be able” to retain the winger they surrendered a 2023 third-rounder to acquire. Deslauriers 31, had only 13 points in 81 games in 2021-22, although that likely won’t stop him from having a solid amount of interest once he hits the open market on the 13th.