It has not been the smoothest transition for Michael Rasmussen, but is he ready to join the Detroit Red Wings once again?
The Detroit Red Wings pulled Michael Rasmussen up to the NHL roster a bit prematurely in 2018-19 after selecting him in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He has not had the smoothest adjustment, spending the entire 2019-20 season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Now, in Red Wings training camp, Rasmussen has been proving that with some bulking up and renewed confidence, he may be able to find a spot in the bottom-six of this roster. The days of hoping Rasmussen will anchor a top-two line are in the rearview barring a massive jump in development.
However, there is a niche that Rasmussen should strive to fit for this organization. He has seemingly shown back up stronger and more confident, and the Red Wings need to use this to their advantage when trying to figure out if Rasmussen fits and where he will fit.
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The 6-foot-6, 229-pound forward has mostly been a center, but recent talks have mentioned a shift to a winger position. This might be best for him to fit the niche of a net-front big body.
The caveat here is that Rasmussen still has offensive skills, and burying him in the offensive zone as a net-front guy may not be the best.
However, it could be his way onto the roster. In the first Red vs. White scrimmage, Rasmussen and Givani Smith were paired on a line together.
The two were constantly cycling between Rasmussen in front of the net and Smith crashing the net hard or vice versa.
While, no, this did not create any goals, but it was just a scrimmage. The combination seemed to generate some scoring chances.
This leads me to believe that if Rasmussen really wants to be on this roster sooner than later and avoid another season in the AHL, he has to do a few things.
He will have to finish camp strong and hope to impress the coaching staff to give him a look in the team’s bottom-six. Hypothetically speaking, Rasmussen on a line with Mathias Bromé and Vladislav Namestnikov could be intriguing.
This would mean Bromé also makes the club’s roster out of camp, but if so, that could be an interesting third line to send out there. But secondly, Rasmussen needs to work on being a good body in front of the net.
During the first scrimmage, one of the announcers mentioned that Rasmussen is great at tipping pucks, which helps work in his favor to camp out front and make things happen. If he can nail that down to be consistent in creating scoring chances, he could be in a winged-wheel uniform sooner than later.
To be clear, by creating scoring chances it means doing three-ish things. 1) tipping pucks to create goals/rebounds 2) simple redirections for scoring chances or sometimes into a pass for a better angled shot and 3) be smart as to when to pop out from the net-front into the slot or down low to make something happen offensively rather than sticking in front and not moving.
Michael Rasmussen’s future with the Detroit Red Wings may not be as bright as it was when he was drafted, but there is definitely still a role that he can play for this offense.