Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin will be returning to center in 2016-17 according to general manager Ken Holland.
Larkin led the Red Wings with 23 goals during last season’s rookie campaign while playing on the wing with captain Henrik Zetterberg. Despite his success on the wing, Larkin’s preferred position is at center and Holland is ready to start playing him there.
“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.”
Holland does not know what position Larkin will be playing for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey but foresees him as a center for the Red Wings in the future. “Long-term, the plan is that Dylan is going to be a center for us. Obviously, when we start camp, Dylan is going to be at the World Cup. I’m not sure what the plan for him will be there. I know when Dylan went to the World Championship, he asked the U.S. team if he could play down the middle, which he did. I’m not sure what the North American team is planning for him in the World Cup. Our plan is he’s going to be given every opportunity to play down the middle,” Holland said.
With Datsyuk’s return to Russia earlier this offseason and the acquisition of Frans Nielsen, another center, Holland anticipates shifting Zetterberg to the wing and making Nielsen and Larkin the team’s top two centers entering 2016-17.