After a dismal 2016-17 NHL season, Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings possessed a tremendous opportunity to utilize their highest first round draft pick since 1991, and to put it mildly, they may have completely blown it.
The above statement is not a personal attack or critique of Michael Rasmussen, who ranked anywhere from five to twenty in most mock drafts/rankings, but as of right now, I’m almost at a loss for words, or at least non-expletive words, in regards to the Red Wings 2017 ninth overall pick.
With players such as Gabriel Vilardi, Owen Tippett, Nick Suzuki, Timothy Liljegren, Martin Necas, and Cal Foote all still available when the Red Wings took the stage at the United Center on Friday evening to announce their selection, the odds of landing one of these dynamic player seemed to be in Detroit’s favor.
Much like Dennis Cholowski, the Red Wings’ first round pick in 2016, selecting Rasmussen appears to be a bit of a reach on Detroit’s part, especially with the aforementioned names still available.
But the Red Wings feel like they got their guy, and seemingly passed on offers to move down on the draft board to select Rasmussen:
#RedWings Wright: We actually had an opportunity to move down. We decided to make the pick. #DRWDraft— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) June 24, 2017
I understand Holland’s desire to draft either a center or defenseman, the Wings need both, but he also stated the importance of drafting the best player available. Apparently Ken Holland believes that the six-foot-five Rasmussen is a better hockey player than Vilardi, Tippett, Suzuki, Liljegren, Necas, and Foote.
To add insult to injury, Tippet, Foote, and Liljegren all went to Detroit’s division rivals (Florida, Tampa, and Toronto respectively), a fact that could seriously haunt the Red Wings in years to come.
Again, this is not a knock on Rasmussen, who still may have a decent shot at being an NHL caliber player someday (especially on the power play), but rather one more demonstration of Ken Holland’s increasing inability to steer the Red Wings back on to the proper and prosperous course.
Ken Holland stuck to his guns and shot all of our draft day hopes directly in the back, but he got his big and gritty center. Rasmussen may not have been the sexy pick that Red Wings fans wanted, but as of now, is a Detroit Red Wing nonetheless. We all wish you the best big guy, Ken Holland, maybe not so much.