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Holland: Larkin has ‘face of the franchise’ potential

Detroit Red Wings v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 11: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings leans on the bench during a timeout during the game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 11, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings are in a major transition phase. Nicklas Lidstrom retired in 2012. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are 37 and 35, respectively. Lidstrom has already been inducted into the Hall of Fame. The other two will be there eventually.

And so, for the last few years, the big question in Detroit has been, who will replace those guys? Or, to use Mike Babcock’s words, who will be the Wings’ next “big-time” player?

Today on TSN 1040 radio, Detroit GM Ken Holland was asked if the answer was forward Dylan Larkin.

“It’s hard to be the face of a franchise,” said Holland. “Dylan Larkin, for a lot of reasons -- he’s 19 years of age; he’s had a real impact on our team; he’s homegrown; he’s from Waterford, Michigan; he played minor hockey in Detroit -- probably has a chance to be the face of the franchise.”

Holland then went on to list all the other good, young players in the organization, like Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Danny DeKeyser, and Petr Mrazek.

“But certainly Dylan Larkin, with what he’s accomplished at the age he’s accomplished it,” said Holland, “has the most potential of the players on our team to become the face of the franchise, or one of the faces of the franchise.”

Anyway, the entire interview is worth a listen. Holland’s interviews usually are.

For what it’s worth, I still wonder about the future of the Red Wings’ blue line, what with Niklas Kronwall turning 35 next month. Yes, DeKeyser is a good young player. But again, there’s a difference between “good” and “big-time.”

Hence, all the excitement about Larkin.