Exhale, Hockeytown – the Detroit Red Wings have re-signed Dylan Larkin to an eight-year contract extension. The deal, which was announced Wednesday, comes with an $8.7 million AAV.
Now that the contract has been signed, Red Wings fans can rest easy knowing their captain will remain a fixture in Detroit until 2031.
Related: Red Wings & Larkin: Dissecting the Complex Contract Negotiation
Fair Value for the Red Wings & Larkin
Back in November, I updated my contract projection for Larkin after Detroit’s top center opened the 2022-23 season on fire. His play—combined with a contract extension for Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders and news that the salary cap is expected to rise significantly—indicated that a higher AAV was in order.
Using Elias Pettersson, Nico Hischier, and Filip Forsberg as comparables, my contract projection model suggested that Larkin’s new deal would come with an AAV between $8 million and $9.3 million, with $8.55 million being the most likely outcome. The projection was pretty close to the eventual result, and it appears that Larkin’s sustained excellence gave his agent Pat Brisson just enough leverage to negotiate a slightly higher salary at $8.7 million per year.
Compared to other 1Cs around the league, this is great value for the Red Wings. If the 2023-24 salary cap indeed rises to $83.5 million, Larkin’s deal will occupy only 10.42 percent of that space. This is similar to the three players noted above, plus Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Bo Horvat, and Roope Hintz – all of which are in Larkin’s talent cohort.
Plus, as the salary cap continues to rise moving into the future, this deal will look better and better.
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Up Next for the Red Wings
Now that Larkin’s deal is done, Steve Yzerman can turn his attention to Tyler Bertuzzi and the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.
Bertuzzi had a career year in 2021-22, with 30 goals and 62 points in 68 games. This season, though, has been different – the 27-year-old has missed time on three separate occasions with various injuries and has only managed 14 points in 29 games.
At this point, it’s hard to project what Bertuzzi’s next contract will look like – and if the Red Wings want to sign him long term. Following the 2021-22 campaign, my model projected a six-year, $6.17 million AAV deal, with Anders Lee, Valeri Nichushkin, and Zach Hyman serving as the comparables. An offer like this may no longer be on the table.
But with Larkin signed, Yzerman now has the bandwidth to figure out what to do with Bertuzzi – re-sign him long term, re-sign him to a shorter contract, or trade the power forward at the trade deadline. My model’s latest projection suggested a three-to-five-year contract with a $5.75 million AAV would be optimal.
One final note – as Yzerman negotiates contracts with other players, Larkin’s deal will serve as somewhat of a ceiling. Chances are, no one will be paid higher than the captain, who arguably could have received more on the open market. A cap hit of $8.7 million is a respectable ceiling from a salary cap management standpoint, especially with contract extension for Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond around the corner.