Published On: Tue, Aug 23rd, 2016

Red Wings GM: Planning Larkin move to center this season

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Dave Reginek / National Hockey League / Getty

After a successful rookie campaign, Dylan Larkin will likely return to his native position in 2016-17.

The Detroit Red Wings forward led the club with 23 goals during his first season, playing on the wing alongside captain Henrik Zetterberg. However, general manager Ken Holland feels it’s time to transition the 20-year-old back to his preferred position at center.

“That’s our plan going into camp,” Holland told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “He’s obviously been a center his entire life. We drafted him as a center, but when you have guys like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk down the middle, guys who are so good 200 feet, it’s tougher.

“Dylan played with Zetterberg last season and Zetterberg took a lot of the responsibility off of Dylan to free him up to play the game. Long-term, the plan is that Dylan is going to be a center for us.”

In turn, Holland says the team will likely shift Zetterberg to the wing, with newly-acquired Frans Nielsen occupying the other center spot in the top-six.

As for season expectations, Holland understands that the club is no longer the powerhouse it once was, but believes the Red Wings should remain in the thick of things.

“I don’t know that there are more than five or six legitimate Stanley Cup contenders; we’re probably not in that group,” Holland said. “After that five or six, there are 20 teams without much difference between them. We’re in that group of 20.

“Certainly there are lots of questions about our team.”



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