Training Camp for the Detroit Red Wings starts on Thursday, Sept. 23 at Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City. The camp will run until Tuesday September 28. The Red Wings will play eight exhibition games in 10 days beginning Wednesday, Sept. 29 at the United Center in Chicago against the Black Hawks.
Several roster decisions must be made through the training camp and exhibition schedule. Numerous players have a lot to prove over the next couple of weeks.
Here are some players in the spotlight as we begin what will hopefully be the next step in the rebuild for the Red Wings.
At 25, Dylan Larkin is entering the prime of his professional hockey career. Offensively, Larkin has regressed since his best offensive season in 2018-19.
Last season was marred by a shortened schedule, a significant season-ending neck injury, an injury to Tyler Bertuzzi, and the trade of Anthony Mantha. Larkin only scored nine goals and 23 points in 44 games before the injury ended his season.
This year, Larkin will have no excuses, and needs to perform like the player he has been in the past. Bertuzzi is back and hopefully healthy. Mantha has been replaced by the skilled Jakub Vrana. If healthy, the trio should be the top line for the Red Wings this year. But, there are no guarantees in professional sports.
Larkin has two years left on his current contract before he becomes an UFA. He is the highest paid player on the Red Wings at an annual salary of $6.1 million. He is entering his second season as the captain of the Red Wings and needs to prove that he is part of the long-term plan for the team.
General Manager Steve Yzerman will be watching Larkin closely throughout the season. Everyone is hoping that Larkin can rebound and become the dominant forward that is needed. Yzerman has a number of ways to go when it comes to Larkin.
Yzerman can hope that Larkin rebounds and then he can be re-signed to a contract extension before he hits free agency. If Larkin isn’t part of the long-term plans, Yzerman will not hesitate to move him at some point before the end of the 2023 season.