Dylan Larkin opted to leave school early to sign with the Red Wings. (Getty Images)
Dylan Larkin opted to leave school early to sign with the Red Wings. (Getty Images)

If Detroit Red Wings fans were in need of some good news in the wake of Mike Babcock’s departure, they got some Thursday. Dylan Larkin, the club’s selection at 15th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, has opted to leave the University Michigan early and has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the team.

Larkin is an exceptional prospect and proved that time and time again at Michigan and in international competition. The 18-year-old Michigan native put up 47 points in 35 games with the Wolverines as a freshman. He ranked second only to top draft prospect and Hobey Baker winner Jack Eichel in freshman scoring in all of the NCAA. His 1.34 points per game ranked sixth overall in the nation.

In addition to his success in the college ranks, Larkin was a dominant force for Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. He led the team with five goals and seven points in five games. He was also invited to join the U.S. Men’s National Team for the IIHF World Championship, playing with and against pros from the NHL and Europe. Larkin finished that tournament with just one assist, but centered Team USA’s defacto checking line as the Americans took home the bronze medal.

With high-end speed and good physical strength, Larkin’s two-way game could earn him a job at the NHL level pretty quickly. He is set to join the Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins as the club is set to take on the Utica Comets in the Western Conference Final of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

While there, he may be auditioning for his future NHL coach as well. Griffins bench boss Jeff Blashill is believed to be the leading candidate to be the Red Wings' next head coach.

Larkin was drafted out of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program last summer. He helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and notched 31 goals over 60 total games in his draft year.