Dylan Larkin’s Injury And The Upcoming NHL Trade Deadline

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)AP

Head coach of the Detroit Red Wings Derek Lalonde was quoted as saying “maybe the most aggressive move would be no move at all” regarding the trade deadline on Friday, March eighth. That was before he announced that captain Dylan Larkin would miss the next two weeks with a lower-body injury. Larkin has been one of the most important players on the Red Wings’ roster, scoring 26 goals and adding 28 assists in 55 games played for the team this season. So, what does this injury mean for the Red Wings’ playoff hopes?

Lalonde said that the injury happened in a recent game against the Florida Panthers. The Panthers won the game by a score of four to nothing and manhandled the Red Wings with physical play. This is a familiar lament for the Red Wings who were eliminated from playoff contention just a season ago. The Red Wings played two games against the Ottawa Senators and lost both. Brady Tkachuk got under the skin of the Red Wings and caused them to take many unnecessary penalties.

This is not the first time that Larkin has been injured this season. After a hit from behind by Mathieu Joseph caused Larkin to fall to the ice motionless, Larkin missed nine games with an undisclosed injury. This was not the first time that these two had been involved in physical play. What resulted from this incident was a two-minute penalty for Joseph and Parker Kelly. David Perron was also suspended for six games for hitting Joseph from behind after coming to the aide of Larkin.

Lalonde did not seem concerned about the depth on this Red Wings team regarding the Larkin injury. “Very comfortable with the 12 forwards we skated in practice with today, so we wouldn’t be calling anyone up to go in the lineup just yet,” Lalonde said. “Probably a day-to-day type feeling.” The fact that this Red Wings team has had scoring up and down the lineup may be a reason for this confidence from Lalonde. 12 Red Wings have scored 10 or more goals during this season.

It was thought by some in NHL media that Detroit needed to get “uglier” at the upcoming trade deadline. Players such as Larkin and Alex DeBrincat should not be expected to defend themselves. This is especially true as the “playoff rules” come into effect. While it is admirable for Larkin to want to protect himself, this latest injury proves that the Red Wings need someone else on the roster to do this. This suggests that the Red Wings should look to make smaller moves to fill out the roster as the trade deadline approaches.

The Red Wings are still in a wild card spot at the time of writing this. The next six games include two games against the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights. These are two of the best teams in the NHL. Favorites to win the Stanley Cup, even. If the Red Wings want to be seen as a contender for a playoff spot, these are the teams that they need to be able to beat. The team will need to be at full strength to be successful in the playoffs.

It has been eight years since the Detroit Red Wings have made the Stanley Cup playoffs. Prior to this the Red Wings made the playoffs an astonishing 25 years in a row! The next stretch of games without Larkin will test the Red Wings. The team needs to learn to not fall into the trap of the pest on other teams like the Senators and Panthers. That is unless they add a pest of their own at the upcoming trade deadline.

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