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Larkin says 'I feel ready' to be Red Wings captain

Center would be first for Detroit since Zetterberg left before last season

by Mike Battaglino / NHL.com Staff Writer

Dylan Larkin said Tuesday he would welcome becoming captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

"I feel ready for it," the center told TSN. "I think it's something that I can't focus on, I can't lose sleep about it, can't control it, I just try and be myself and play the game that I love and play with a lot of passion.

"Everyone in the NHL has been a leader at some point in their careers. I'm lucky that we have great veteran leadership and it's taken a lot of pressure off me, but a letter's a letter, but being a captain of a franchise like the Detroit Red Wings would mean a lot to me."

Larkin, who grew up in Michigan, turned 23 on July 30 and is entering his fifth NHL season. Last season, he set NHL career highs with 73 points, 32 goals, 287 shots on goal and 21:51 time on ice per game.

"I think last year was a big stepping year for me," Larkin said. "I took a big step in my game, my 200-foot game, and I think I got a lot of confidence after that season. I need to take another step and become even better in my own zone, and score more, or contribute in different ways offensively. ... I'm excited to get back at it."

Detroit did not have a captain last season after Henrik Zetterberg said he could no longer play because of back problems. The forward was Red Wings captain since 2012-13.

"He was the best captain I ever played for in my young career," Larkin said. "You see a lot of guys that played in other places and played for pretty good captains, they speak very highly of what kind of leader he was. I think just his extra gear that he had, he always found a way to push harder, and when the team seemed to have nothing, he had that extra oomph and he found a way to get it done.

"He was always reliable, he always did the right things in the locker room, he always showed up to the rink working as hard as he could and set a good example for the young guys. I think he's someone I still to this day am in contact with, and I still text him if I ever stumble upon things or have problems. He's been one of the greatest mentors I ever had."

Larkin was an alternate captain last season with defenseman Niklas Kronwall and forwards Justin Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen.

"It's something if it happens, it happens," Larkin said. "If it doesn't, I still get to play for the Detroit Red Wings and I get to play in the NHL, and I'm going to try and play my best."

Tweet from @TSN_Sports: Larkin on Red Wings' captaincy: 'I feel ready for it'. @markhmasters has more: https://t.co/HEwllaI1fV pic.twitter.com/njBSMDEU8r

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