Michael Rasmussen of the Detroit Red Wings has scored four goals in his last six games played. This comes as the Red Wings have begun to play for next year. The team fell out of playoff contention after having a difficult stretch of play against some of the better teams in the league. Could the Red Wings get back to being a playoff team with a different role for Rasmussen?
The young center has begun to use his size and stature at 6’6” to get into the “high-danger” areas in order to create scoring chances. This has not been the case throughout the rest of the 2021-22 season. Rasmussen has scored 12 goals and 11 assists in 69 games played for the team. If he were to have played as well as he has in the last five games all season the 22-year-old could have put up better numbers.
Rasmussen drew into the first line of the Red Wings lineup in a recent game against the Winnipeg Jets. This was because the game was in Canada and Tyler Bertuzzi remains unvaccinated against COVID-19. While this may change in the future as the rules regarding the vaccine are relaxed, the fact that Rasmussen got to play on the first line with more talented players is a valuable experience that he can use to grow as a player.
This uptick in Rasmussen’s offensive output comes as he is still trying to figure out how to play at the NHL level. Some might say that this is yet another example of a player not improving under head coach Jeff Blashill. It was thought at the beginning of the 2021-22 season that this would be a make-or-break year for him. Blashill recently said that Rasmussen is “working very hard” and that this is not something that happens right away.
Detroit Red Wings youngster moves to right-wing
This includes a move to the wing for Rasmussen. This move from the center allows him to focus more on the offensive side of the game. Perhaps this will be a permanent move as the center depth of the Red Wings continues to improve. The team does not have depth at the center position but if Rasmussen can continue to play at this level on the wing it will be invaluable. Dylan Larkin is the most talented center on the Red Wings’ current roster. This is something that has to change.
Rasmussen was drafted ninth overall by the Red Wings in the 2017 NHL entry draft. The fact that he was drafted by the then Red Wings general manager Ken Holland around names such as Casey Mittelstadt and Owen Tippett in what was a center-heavy first round cannot be overlooked. Tippett was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers but has since been traded to the Philadelphia Flyers because of the fact that the Panthers’ roster is loaded with talent. Mittelstadt is still trying to find his footing as a Sabre as well.
Leading up to his draft, Rasmussen scored a 32-goal 55-point season with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. The next season he scored 31 goals and added 28 assists in 47 games played during the regular season and added 33 points in the 14 playoff games he played. This did nothing to dissuade the Red Wings from believing that he could be this type of player at the NHL level. Unfortunately, this has yet to be the case.
The Red Wings organization has had a habit of leaving their prospects in the minor leagues for too long. This is what they liked to call “overripening” a prospect. The fact that Rasmussen might be the latest example of this is something to keep in mind when dissecting Rasmussen’s career thus far. At 22-years-old he may have to move from center to the wing in order to stick in the NHL.
Perhaps Rasmussen will be on the Red Wings roster when the team is ready to compete for a Stanley Cup again. This may be in a reduced role. His role would likely be reduced as the Red Wings roster becomes more and more talented. This latest offensive output is a reminder of the player that the Red Wings saw when they drafted Rasmussen ninth overall in the 2017 NHL draft.
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