These are pretty important times for Dylan Larkin.
Larkin, Detroit’s first-round pick (15th overall) at the ’14 Draft and the reigning Big Ten freshman of the year, has a major decision on his hands — turn pro, or return to the University of Michigan for his sophomore campaign.
He’s mulling that decision while representing the U.S. at the World Hockey Championships, his first foray into competition against professionals… which is happening the watchful eye of Detroit head coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland, who flew to the Czech Republic to take in the tournament.
So yeah, heady times for Larkin, who insists he’s yet to make up his mind about next year.
“Not 100 percent,” Larkin said about returning to the Wolverines, per the Windsor Star. “I’m still in between and weighing the options.”
It’s expected the 18-year-old will go back to school, where he can build on a banner freshman campaign in which he scored 47 points in 35 games. Larkin would be one of the best players on the collegiate landscape and a likely Hobey Baker candidate; at the end of this season, U of M head coach Red Berenson said he was among the best freshmen he’s ever coached.
But playing for the U.S. at the Worlds might change things a bit.
Larkin admitted his decision will be influenced by how he stacks up against pros. Thus far, American head coach Todd Richards has given him plenty of ice time — including nearly 15 minutes in a 4-2 win over Russia — and Larkin has responded with one assist and a plus-one rating over three games.
Regarding Larkin’s future, the Red Wings shouldn’t expect an immediate answer at the end of the Worlds. He says he wants to take some time with the decision and weigh all his options.
“I’m not in a rush,” Larkin said. “The seasons are over. There’s really no rush. I really feel like there’s not a wrong choice or a bad option.
“Either way I’m still going to be playing hockey and doing what I love.”