Waterford native Dylan Larkin debuted as the first teenager to play for the Red Wings since Jiri Hudler played a dozen games as a 19-year-old early in the 2003 season. The last teen to dress for the Red Wings in a season opener was Mike Sillinger in 1990. And the last to skate in a home opener for Detroit came a week later when Keith Primeau made his NHL debut at 18. (Yzerman, by the way, is the last Red Wings teenager to score in his first NHL game.)
Larkin played to perfection, scoring three goals in his first game on October 9, 2015.
There may have been some tears earlier in the week, when Larkin phoned his parents, Kevin and Denise, to tell them he’d made the Opening Night roster. And just as Blashill admitted to soaking in the significance of this night before the puck dropped, Larkin did the same, with his body a bundle of nerves and a couple dozen relatives in the stands.
“My mom was telling me they haven’t had this much family together since their wedding,” Larkin said.
When Larkin was a kid, his father would occasionally fill the holiday stockings with Red Wings tickets.
“And right where we used to sit was where they were sitting tonight,” Dylan said. “So just to look up and see them up there … I guess Christmas came early this year.”
For the fans as well. It has been a long time since a rookie’s on-ice arrival was so eagerly awaited — and expedited — in Detroit, maybe going all the way back to Steve Yzerman in 1983.
For the full article, see John Niyo, “Larkin’s big step up is smooth skating”, Detroit News, October 10, 2015.