On June 27, 2009, Thomas Larkin became the first ever Italian-trained player to be drafted by an NHL club. The son of an American father and Italian mother, he was born in London, England. Larkin spent most of his life in Italy, then moved to the United States. He was switched to defense by his high school coach.
2008-09: Larkin skated for Phillips Exeter Academy as a senior. He set the single season scoring record for a defenseman with 52 points. Earned team MVP honors and All-New England honors. He was ranked 87th among North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Columbus in the fifth round (137th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft.
2009-10: Larkin earned a big role as a freshman at Colgate University. In 33 games the blueliner scored 3 goals and 16 assists. His 19 points led the team’s defensemen.
2010-11: Larkin skated in 41 of 42 games for Colgate as a sophomore and also represented Italy at the 2011 IIHF Division 1A World Championship. Larkin and teammate Jeremy Price shared the team lead in goals for a defenseman with five each on a Colgate team that struggled for much of the season; finishing last in the ECAC Hockey League regular season standings. The Raiders turned things around late in the season – picking up 8 of their 11 wins after February 1st – and reached the semifinals of the conference tournament. Larkin finished plus-8 for the season and had 7 assists with 41 PMs. In four games for Italy he scored 1 goal and was plus-1 as Italy won three of four games to capture the tournament and return to the top pool for 2012.
2011-12: Larkin was named captain of Colgate University as a junior and responded with 14 points (10 assists) in 37 games. The stay-at-home defender was once again named to the Italian national team and had four assists in 20 international games.
2012-13: Larkin made his pro hockey debut with Columbus AHL affiliate Springfield in March after completing his college career at Colgate. He scored his first goal (and only point) in his second game, a 2-0 win over the Manchester Monarchs. Larkin was minus-3 in seven games for the Falcons. Springfield finished first in the Northeast Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Larkin did not play in any playoff games. He scored 3 goals with 11 assists and was minus-7 with 55 penalty minutes in 36 games as a senior with the Raiders. Colgate finished 11th in the 12-team ECAC Hockey League and lost to St. Lawrence in a first round playoff series.
2012-13: Larkin split his first pro season between the AHL and the ECHL — beginning the year with the Evansville Icemen before joining Columbus AHL affiliate Springfield at the end of December and shuffling between the two clubs late in the year. He concluded the season skating for Italy in the 2014 World Championships. Larkin played 19 regular season games for the Falcons and was plus-8 with 2 assists and 48 penalty minutes. Springfield finished first in the Northeast Division before falling to Providence in a five-game first-round playoff series. Larkin had no points nor penalties in his only playoff appearance. In 33 ECHL games for Evansville he scored 3 goals with 17 assists and was plus-2 with 60 penalty minutes. The Icemen missed the playoffs; finishing fourth in the North Division.
Larkin’s biggest challenge is to use his size to his advantage. Not an imposing physical player despite his size he is more of a skating, positional player who plays a skillful game. Larkin appeared to show some physical elements to his game in his first pro season as he made the adjustment from the college game to pro hockey.
Larkin attended his second training camp with the Blue Jackets before being assigned to AHL affiliate Springfield at the start of the 2014-15 season. Now in the second year of his original two-year entry-level contract, he has taken great strides and is the second-leading scorer amongst Falcons' defensemen behind Austin Madaisky. As with any late-round pick — particularly when that player was selected by the previous regime in an organization as is the case with Larkin — the odds are stacked against him one day cracking the Columbus lineup. The progress he has made over the past two seasons suggest he can be an effective lower line defenseman at the NHL in the right situation if given an opportunity.