Detroit Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin reflects on his NHL draft night, eager to welcome picks

Detroit Free Press

Excitement is building over the 2023 NHL draft, with many fans wondering who will make their way to Hockeytown.

The Detroit Red Wings have the No. 9 and No. 17 picks in the first round in the draft, which begins Wednesday night. The last time the Red Wings had the No. 9 pick was 2017, in which they selected Michael Rasmussen.

Whomever is selected can look forward to a phone call from Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin.

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Larkin, who was drafted 15th overall out of Michigan in the 2014 draft, has grown into quite the leader since hearing his name called all those years ago, having led the team last season in goals (32) and assists (47).

The Wings captain participated in the Rocket Mortgage Classic’s Area 313 Celebrity Scramble on Tuesday afternoon at the Detroit Golf Club. The winning foursome for the three-hole event was Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, PGA Tour player Collin Morikawa, the John Shippen Cognizant Cup winner Paige Crawford and businessman John Patchoski.

Larkin spoke Tuesday to how excited he is to welcome the new members of the team and help them build their careers in Detroit.

“I get excited to get the chance to give the guys that the Red Wings draft a call afterwards and welcome them to the organization and you hear their excitement,” Larkin said. “It brings you back to that day and how special that was.”

His advice to the 2023 draft picks is to soak in the moment, adding that the moment his named was called was the most memorable part of the night.

“It’s very cliché, but just hearing your name get called,” Larkin said. “I still remember it’s one of those things you get so excited.

“That time goes by quick, but I would encourage the young guys to take a look around and enjoy that moment.”

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One young man certain to hear his named called is Larkin’s fellow Wolverine, Adam Fantilli, who is the projected to go as high as No. 2 on Wednesday night. Fantilli, last season’s Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s best player, was a leader for a Michigan team that finished 26-12-3 and made it all the way to the Frozen Four this past season. The freshman finished the year with 30 goals and 35 assists.

While the Red Wings likely won’t get Fantilli with the No. 9 pick, there’s still plenty of talent to choose from in the top 10. In the latest mock draft, the Red Wings are projected to take either Zach Wilson, a left wing from Winnipeg in the Western Hockey League, or Matthew Wood, a right wing out of Connecticut.

According to the same mock draft, the Red Wings are also projected to take Eduard Sale, a left wing out of the Czech Republic, or Axel Sandin Pellikka, a defenseman from Sweden, with the No. 17 pick.

Following the first round, the Red Wings have eight other picks to boost their development and produce some high-quality players in the years to come. The NHL draft officially kicks off Wednesday from Nashville, Tennessee, and will conclude on Thursday.

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