By Tom Mitsos –
TRAVERSE CITY — The Detroit Red Wings haven’t been shy about drafting and signing homegrown talent.
Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser and Luke Glendening are just a few names that were born in Michigan and have suited up for the Red Wings.
The newest draftee, 2014 No. 15 overall pick Dylan Larkin, was at the Red Wings development camp Friday at Centre Ice Arena to get his first taste of what it means to be in the Red Wings organization.
“I was pretty nervous,” Larkin said of coming into the development camp. “I didn’t really know many guys coming in. Just meeting people and getting comfortable.”
Larkin, a 6-foot, 190-pound winger from Waterford, Mich., has committed to the University of Michigan to play for coach Red Berenson. Most recently, he played for the United States National Under-18 team (with the National Team Development Program) where he scored 26 points (17 goals, nine assists) in 26 games.
It was exactly one week ago that Larkin was drafted by the Red Wings, and he said he’s trying to get back into the swing of things after a weekend in Philadelphia.
“Trying to get back into my routine as much as possible,” he said. “I took a little time to spend time with family and friends and let it soak in. Spend time in Philadelphia — I spent a few days there. Just seeing the city — it’s a great city.”
Larkin said he’s trying to absorb everything he can while at this development camp and would like to focus on the details when it comes to his game.
“The Red Wings have such a good coaching staff,” the 17-year-old said, “you take the things they say away and you really practice them and make them become good habits.”
Not only do players participate in on-ice drills, but they also do strength and conditioning exercises with Red Wings strength and conditioning coach Pete Renzetti.
“They take it really serious,” Larkin said. “It is an important part of the game. You can definitely tell the way they talk about it that you have to do what you have to do.”
Larkin said he hopes being drafted high by the Red Wings is an inspiration for kids in Michigan to pursue their dreams of playing hockey.
“I hope I set up a good path for kids to come up in Detroit and kind of follow me,” he said. “That’s the one thing I am setting myself to do, and I think it’s exciting for hockey in Detroit.”
Larkin admitted he views himself as a goal scorer, but also noted that defense is an important part of his game he must continue to improve on as well.
“I like to play a fast, attacking game,” he said. “But at the same time, I work back to my own end as hard as I attack, and I take care in the defensive zone. It’s a two-way, 200-foot game.”
Larkin certainly has set the bar high for himself, as he said he tries to emulate one of the top two-way forwards in the NHL.
“I try and watch Jonathan Towes to try and be like him,” Larkin said.