“We’re having conversations. A lot of negotiating, going back and forth. Ultimately, in my heart, it’s where I want to be,” Larkin told Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek just outside of Las Vegas. I don’t really see myself playing for another team. It’s moving along. I can’t really tell you when or how [the deal gets resolved], but that’s where I want to be.”
Larkin, a Michigan native, was drafted by Detroit in the first round of 2014 and erupted for 23 goals in his rookie campaign. He was named captain of the storied franchise in January 2021 and has served as the face of the franchise through its lengthy rebuild.
The 26-year-old is entering the final season of his current deal, a team-friendly contract that carries a $6.1 million AAV.
Larkin’s superb 2021-22 season (31 goals and 69 points in 71 games) ended prematurely when he underwent core muscle surgery.
The No. 1 centre assures that his eight-week recovery went smoothly and that he is back training in full.
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman was active this summer in acquiring talent around Larkin, signing free agents Andrew Copp (a close friend of Larkin’s), David Perron, Ville Husso and Ben Chiarot.
The club is turning the corner in an attempt to end its six-year playoff drought.
“I do believe we’re closer than we’ve ever been,” Larkin enthused.
Larkin’s no-trade clause kicks in this season, giving him some measure of control as he skates toward his payday and first taste of free agency.
The captain is Yzerman’s top priority among a group of 10 impending unrestricted free agents that includes Tyler Bertuzzi, Adam Erne, Olli Maatta, and Alex Nedeljkovic.
So, is Larkin confident that an extension will be coming?
“I’m hoping,” he replied.