Dylan Larkin’s stay at the University of Michigan may end up being a short one.
Larkin, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, will reportedly soon decide between returning to the Wolverines for his sophomore season, or signing an entry-level deal with the Red Wings — who selected Larkin 15th overall at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
“I don’t know that he’s 100 percent sure,” U of M head coach Red Berenson said, per the Detroit Free Press. “I think he really enjoyed his first year at Michigan. I think he thrived on it. How could it be a better year? Everything fell into place for him at the world juniors and then here. Detroit has opened the door for him, not necessarily to play in Detroit, but to start his development in the minors.
“I would like him to come back and continue to develop his game until he’s more ready to play with men, but that’s going to be up to him and his family.”
With Michigan’s season finished, the Red Wings will reportedly leave the decision up to Larkin, who’s had himself a pretty banner campaign.
In addition to finishing second on the Wolverines in scoring — with 47 points in 35 games — the 18-year-old starred for the U.S. at the World Juniors, drawing rave reviews from Detroit GM Ken Holland in the process.
“He’s a good skater, good two-way player,” Holland said, per MLive. “I think he’s done everything that Team USA would want. I was very impressed with the way he played.”
Given Detroit’s penchant for seasoning prospects in the AHL, it might behoove Larkin to start his pro career now. The likes of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan all spent extensive time in Grand Rapids prior to becoming NHLers, and we’re seeing a similar scenario unfold now with Detroit’s other highly-touted first-round pick — Anthony Mantha, the 20th overall pick in ’13 — who has 13 goals and 28 points in 54 games this year for the Griffins.