Center: Michael Rasmussen
The Detroit Red Wings spent the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Level Draft on center Michael Rasmussen. He excelled at the junior level so much that the organization opted to keep him in Detroit for the entire 2018-19 NHL season, forgoing to send him back to the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League with one year of eligibility left.
Former Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland decided to keep Rasmussen in Motown, where he’d take his lumps as a rookie, scoring just 18 points in 68 games. The Wings had been in a dilemma, let Rasmussen dominate with Tri-City or allow him to play in Detroit and hope he develops at the NHL level.
Grand Rapids playing with the Griffins is exactly where Rasmussen belonged, but that failed to be an option due to his junior eligibility. After struggling as a rookie, many won’t consider the 6-foot-6 center as a prospect at 21-years old and has played a full NHL season, but after spending all of last season in the AHL with Grand Rapids, he’s not a ‘sure-fire’ player to make the NHL.
Last year, Rasmussen missed half of the season due to injury, recorded seven goals and 22 points playing in 35 games last season with the Griffins.
The Detroit Red Wings decided to loan Rasmussen to Graz EC in Austria during the coronavirus pandemic, where he’s found his stride recording five goals, 18 points in 16 games.
After spending the ninth overall pick on his services, the Red Wings certainly hoped he’d be a scoring top-six forward. Still, it appears his high-water mark may be settling in as a third-line scoring center that can move up to the second line as a winger or center if pressed into duty.
Rasmussen’s 157 points in 160 games with Tri-City give me hope he can still find a way to be that top-six forward I had hoped for when the organization drafted him back in 2017, therefore garnering a premium spot in this edition of the Detroit Red Wings top prospects.
NHL ETA (Again): 2021