Red Wings prospect Larkin says ‘one of the reasons’ he left the NCAA was Babcock’s departure

Jared Clinton
Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mike Babcock may be the new coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Detroit Red Wings fans might be thanking their former bench boss for bringing top prospect Dylan Larkin to the professional game so soon.

After all, were it not for Babcock deciding to leave Detroit, Larkin, 19, may not have left the NCAA to sign his professional deal. Larkin was Detroit’s first round pick in 2014 and it’s clear he’s not planning on playing anywhere but the NHL.

“(The coaching change) is one of the reasons I decided to sign and leave college,” Larkin told’s Mike Brophy. “There is a new coach and there seems to be some older players who might be on their way out. I think it is a great opportunity for me to learn from them. Growing up in Detroit you hear so much about those guys. I have watched Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk my whole life, so to be in the same room as them would be an incredible experience.” Read more

Claude Lemieux to play for Avalanche alumni at Stadium Series game against Detroit

Jared Clinton
Claude Lemieux (Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Has there ever been a fight during an alumni game? Because if not, we might see the first.

On Feb. 26, when the Colorado Avalanche take on the Detroit Red Wings at the Stadium Series’ alumni game in Denver this season, Claude Lemieux will be in the lineup for the Avalanche. Lemieux told Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater that he’s “looking forward” to suiting up for the alumni contest against Detroit, and it’s sure to be fun.

For Red Wings fans, Lemieux’s role in the rivalry between the Red Wings and Avalanche is infamous. It was Lemieux’s hit on Red Wings center Kris Draper during the 1996 post-season which helped spark one of the most heated rivalries of the 1990s. Lemieux’s hit, which earned him a five-minute major and game misconduct, broke Draper’s jaw, cheek and orbital bone. Read more

Reebok catalog shows off potential Avalanche, Red Wings logos for Stadium Series

Potential logos for the upcoming Stadium Series between Detroit and Colorado. (via Conrad Burry/Twitter)

Fans itching to get a look at what the Stadium Series jerseys might be when the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings face off in Denver this season got a preview from an unlikely source.

In a Reebok catalog promoting new merchandise for the upcoming season, the logos for both the Avalanche and Red Wings for the Stadium Series contest adorned two sweaters.

Graphic designer Conrad Burry first posted the image to Twitter, which has since been picked up by hockey design blogs such as and Read more

Red Wings’ Franzen says he’ll be ready for season, but where does he fit?

Jared Clinton
Johan Franzen (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

By the time the Red Wings hit the ice for their first game of the 2015-16 season, it will have been more than eight months since winger Johan Franzen suited up in an NHL contest. But the 35-year-old could be ready to go when the upcoming campaign gets underway.

There has been uncertainty about Franzen’s future and whether he’d ever suit up in the NHL again. Concussion issues have plagued him throughout his career — his latest head injury was his fifth documented concussion — but the 10-year veteran says he’ll be ready when the Wings hit the ice in October. At the Ilitch Charities Golf Classic at Oakland Hills, Franzen said he’s already been back on the ice.

“I’ll be ready,” Franzen told ABC Detroit’s Brad Galli. “I’ve been skating for a week.” Read more

Rumor Roundup: What’s the future for top free agents-to-be Stamkos and Kopitar?

Anze Kopitar

With less than a month remaining until NHL training camps open, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles Kings pivot Anze Kopitar remain unsigned. The duo are eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.’s Craig Custance reports there’s been only preliminary talks between the Kings and Kopitar, while negotiations have yet to being between Stamkos and the Lightning. Custance notes both players are eligible for big raises, with Chicago Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (eight-years, $84-million each) likely seen as comparables. He also points out both clubs must carefully consider the impact those new contracts will have upon their respective salary-cap payrolls.

The Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly believes Lightning fans shouldn’t panic over Stamkos’ contract situaiton, but notes his status could become an unwelcome distraction for the club the longer their captain remains unsigned. The same can also be said of Kopitar and the Kings. Read more

Futures mailbag: Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat’s uphill battle and more

Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

After a week off for vacation, the mailbag returns in full force. The volume of questions is beginning to get fatter and that’s awesome, so keep them coming by hitting me up on Twitter with the hashtag #thnfutures. If your question isn’t answered this week, check back next time. Let’s get to it!

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Red Wings’ Jurco says two-year deal close, report claims otherwise

Jared Clinton
Tomas Jurco (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings have only one big, outstanding free agent, and that’s restricted free agent Tomas Jurco. But when the 22-year-old told a Slovakian outlet he was on the verge of a two-year deal, that claim was disputed and it doesn’t appear a contract is as imminent as Jurco may believe.

According to’s Brendan Savage, a source said that no two-year deal is close, partly because Jurco has just recently hired a new agent.

When asked by when he would be signing his new deal, a rough translation of Jurco’s answer said he believed he could wait until the end of the week for the new deal. He added that the new deal would be, “probably two years,” and that because of injury risk he was wary of signing a one-year contract. Read more