The Detroit Red Wings have had a long offseason with plenty of new faces joining the team. Could these three prospects make the leap and join the team full-time?
The exciting part of the offseason is at its end. With the NHL poised to start their seasons in early February, fans and players alike will have to wait just a few months before they can experience NHL hockey once again. The Detroit Red Wings, who have sent dozens of their prospects to European leagues, are poised to make a few more roster changes before the season.
While the roster is almost solidified by general manager Steve Yzerman, a few spots remain open for potential prospects to breakthrough. Whether it’s a chance to make the roster from prospect camp or a midseason debut, these prospects have the chance to make it to the NHL this season.
(Note: Per Steve Yzerman, Filip Zadina should already be considered a full-time NHL player, so he will not be included on this list.)
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1. Michael Rasmussen – C
Michael Rasmussen is a little different from the other prospects on our list. During the 2018-19 NHL season, Rasmussen was too young to play in the AHL but too talented to spend another season developing in the WHL.
He played 62 games with the Detroit Red Wings during his brief tenure, scoring just 18 points before turning old enough to play with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Last season, Rasmussen scored 22 points in 35 games with the Griffins, playing up and down the team’s top-six lines.
He spent the 2019-20 season smoothing out his game’s rough edges, bulking up physically, and learning to play consistently under pressure.
At 6’6″, Rasmussen is a giant among the average player. With enough strength training, he could serve as a deadly power-forward for the Red Wings in the coming years.
If Rasmussen hopes to earn a full-time spot in the NHL, he will need to show his consistency across every aspect of his game. Fortunately, his development through the AHL shows a sign that he’s learning how to contribute in any situation. If he makes the roster, he’ll likely slot in somewhere on the third line as a lethal power play threat for the Red Wings.
2. Givani Smith – LW
Givani Smith, taken 46th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, saw his first taste of NHL ice last season, where he netted three points in 21 games with the Red Wings. His play style — mean, aggressive, and energetic — has allowed him to thrive in Grand Rapids, where he’s obtained 32 points in his AHL career.
Smith isn’t the type of player you ice for a scoring threat; he’s more of a tough-as-nails grinder that opens up the scoring lanes for his linemates. (Think a more efficient Justin Abdelkader on a much more team-friendly contract).
He thrives at his best playing on the bottom-six lines, laying out the opposition while adding in a few extra points here and there. Smith’s likelihood of making the Red Wings might be higher than the other two prospects mentioned on the list simply due to his role as a grinder.
Openings on the team’s top-six offensive lines and top-four defensive lines seem locked in as of this season, but the bottom-six is open for debate. If Smith shows he’s got what it takes, he has the chance to beat Adam Erne out of a roster spot with the Detroit Red Wings.
3. Moritz Seider – D
Yes, every Red Wings’ favorite German has a chance to see consistent ice time with Detroit next season. However, that will be determinant on when the NHL season begins and when the SHL season ends.
Currently, Moritz Seider is playing in the Swedish Hockey League along with fellow prospects Jonatan Berggren, Lucas Raymond, and a slew of other players. Due to contract restrictions, he will need to remain in Sweden until the end of the SHL season; as of right now, it looks like the season will come to a close in March of 2021.
Seider is a legitimate top-pairing defenseman and will work wonders on the Red Wings’ back-end for years to come. He’s as talented as he is versatile, able to play in any situation on the ice with no trouble.
If Yzerman plans on trading a defenseman or two during the trade deadline, a roster spot is Seider’s to claim. Whether that’s in March or during the 2021-2022 season, though, will remain to be seen.
All three of these players are candidates to see ice time in a Detroit Red Wings uniform during the 2020-21 season, but only time will tell which ones will get the call.