Drafting Dylan Larkin was the equivalent of hitting the NHL talent jackpot writes the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James. Calling him the foundation of Detroit’s rebuilding process, Larkin fell to Detroit in the 2014 NHL Draft. St. James assesses that the 21-year-old center is captain material and that the Red Wings have a chance to build around a player that could lead them back to their familiar days of contention. Of course, the Red Wings have been reluctant to actually rebuild and instead, opt to sign free agents in the hopes of making the playoffs, which blocks the progress of younger players. Larkin was the exception, as his performance was too strong to ignore right out of his first training camp in 2015, and he’s been a mainstay on the roster since.
- St. James also answers questions about Andreas Athanasiou, the polarizing forward who dazzles with his speed and scoring prowess but perplexes with his inability to find regular ice time due to what appears to be conflicts with management. After holding out to start the 2017-18 season, Athanasiou did not live up to the billing Detroit was hoping for–but many in Hockeytown would argue he was never given the chance. She quotes head coach Jeff Blashill as saying… “that consistency level and work ethic and compete is going to be critical for AA.” It sounds like a tug of war between a player and management making some wonder if Athanasiou will find himself shipped out of town. St. James writes that with his numbers dropping, the return wouldn’t be what Detroit would want.
- Red Wings prospect Kaden Fulcher is featured in a London Free Press article, extolling the performance of the youngster who has been strong between the pipes for the Hamilton Bulldogs en route to a Memorial Cup appearance. Fulcher signed a three-year entry level contract with the Red Wings and MLive’s Ansar Khan explains that Fulcher’s improvement is a reflection of his work ethic. The Red Wings expect him to compete for a job in Grand Rapids and should that not pan out, he would go to either the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL or back to Hamilton for his overage junior year.