Who is Michael Rasmussen?
Height/Weight: 6’6” / 221 lbs
Birthday: April 4, 1999 (18 years old)
Birthplace: Surrey, British Columbia
Draft: 2017 1st Round (#9 overall)
Rasmussen was drafted by the Red Wings for two reasons: his size and his net-front ability, especially on the power play. The Red Wings have struggled in these departments for years, so they are going to lean on Rasmussen to fill this void in the future. Earlier this month, the Red Wings signed Rasmussen to his entry-level contract. Rasmussen's deal can slide up to two years while he stays in Juniors, but hopefully the Red Wings will want him around sooner. The Red Wings boasted their highest pick since 1991, so the organization as a whole knew how important this pick was. So for Rasmussen, he may be the most important prospect in the Red Wings organization until he makes it up with the big club.
What do we like about him?
By now, many people know all about Michael Rasmussen. He is a huge, left-handed center with the net-front presence of Tomas Holmstrom. 15 of his 32 goals came on the PP last year for the Tri-City Americans as well. So these two factors together led Ken Holland to pull the trigger on him at #9. A net-front guy on the PP has been missing for years with this team, so the Red Wings truly believe one day he will fill that role perfectly.
Obviously when someone is 6’6” / 221 lbs, you expect them to be strong and that holds true for Rasmussen. However, you don’t always expect a big guy to be able to skate all that well. That’s one of the other assets that scouts have raved about with Rasmussen. His skating ability allows him to easily get up and down the ice which not only helps him score, but benefits his solid two-game as well.
Outside of his size, strength and skating ability, there seems to be a lot of room for Rasmussen to grow. Looking at his game as a whole, one has to wonder if he has the potential to add much else to the table?
What needs some work?
The biggest knock on Rasmussen is the fact that majority of his time spent in the offensive zone is in front of the net. He doesn’t possess a lot of playmaking ability or the ability to pass the puck very well. Scouts questioned if the fact he spends too much time in front of the net could hurt his game develop properly. There are weaknesses for every prospect, but it seems like as far as overall skill sets go, Rasmussen may struggle developing in that department.
Another area of focus for Rasmussen will be his effort. Scouts have said that because he sits in front of the net so often, he has a tendency to take plays off, particularly when it involves skating back into his defensive zone. For a player that has two-way ability, that’s a problem. We know the Red Wings have plenty of young guys that fit this profile as well, so expect the organization to really try and hammer this in his head right away as development begins.
What’s next for Rasmussen?
As he is only 18, the plan, as it is with almost every prospect in the Red Wings organization, is to season him in the juniors/minors for a few years. The fact that the Red Wings already signed him to an entry-level deal shows that they hope for him to be in the NHL before that contract expires. Until then, it will be interesting to see how/if his production increases, especially once he gets called up to Grand Rapids.
When you are a Top 10 pick like Rasmussen, expectations are extremely high. Even though he is still a few years away, everyone will be following him closely as he progresses up to the NHL. The Red Wings hope for him to develop, especially his goal scoring ability every step of the way, because that would sure be nice to have in the not too distant future.