Sometimes I can’t wrap my head around these Detroit Red Wings roster moves. Friday, the Red Wings placed 21-year old Rasmussen onto the taxi squad, likely clearing space for the return of one or more of the five players currently placed on the non-roster COVID-19 list. It’s a list headlined by Filip Zadina and Robby Fabbri, but it also includes Sam Gagner, Adam Erne, and Jon Merrill.
The Detroit Red Wings got off to a good start this season, splitting each of their first two series’ against Columbus and Carolina. Since came the COVID-19 issues followed by a four-game losing streak at the hands of Chicago and Dallas.
Unfortunately, the unfavorable trends from a year ago continue to haunt the Red Wings a year later. After finishing last in basically every trackable category in 2019-20, the offensive and defensive struggles have carried over into 2020-21.
The Red Wings rank 25th with 16 goals and 25th with 29 goals allowed. Detroit’s power-play is converting at just a 14.8% success rate, while the league average is 21.4%.
Detroit’s penalty kill rate comes in at a mere 72%, while the league average is nearly 79%. So, yes, the organization is once again struggling in every facet of the game. When it comes to puck possession, the Red Wings maintain a lackluster 46.3 Corsi For Percentage (CF%) as a team.
Rasmussen has played six games for the Detroit Red Wings in 2021 after starting the year on the taxi squad, where he’s since returned as of Friday.
In those six games, Rasmussen recorded three assists. Recently we wrote that Rasmussen will see an opportunity to stick at the NHL level, and he’s played well enough to remain up, leaving this latest move to second guess.
Rasmussen is a minus -3 and only producing a CF% of 44 in just under 11 minutes of ice-time on average. Head coach Jeff Blashill uses Rasmussen as a fourth-line forward, but he seemed to shine playing on a line with Ryan and Zadina replacing Fabbri early on.
In Detroit’s last game, Blashill fired up a line of Luke Glendening centering Givani Smith and Rasmussen. That checking-type line did prove to be a bright spot in a dull game for the Red Wings. Rasmussen played a season-high 16:22 time on ice while recording a pair of assists.
Why are the Red Wings opting to place Michael Rasmussen onto the taxi squad rather than someone else?
As the organization begins to see players return from the COVID-19 list, the team needs to clear roster space to re-activate them. To place players back onto the teams’ taxi squad, players need to clear waivers unless said player is waiver exempt.
The Red Wings do have a few players that fall into this category, and Rasmussen is one. The others are Taro Hirose, Mathias Bromé, and Givani Smith.
Bromé has played eight games but has failed to record a point; both Hirose and Smith have recorded one assist in three games. Again, so why are the Detroit Red Wings who are struggling to score goals opting to remove a kid that works on the power-play?
Smith is more of an energy player, and I have no issue leaving him on the fourth line, but I’d prefer to see either Bromé or Hirose take a night off.
This is something we need to get used to in 2021; these two-way, waiver exempt players will be spending a lot of time between Detroit and the taxi squad.