Detroit Red Wings: Predicting the line combinations for 2021-22

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Red Wings, Michael Rasmussen
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Predicting the Detroit Red Wings fourth line for the 2021-22 season.

There is a chance center Michael Rasmussen begins the season on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.  The injury is expected to be day-to-day and shouldn’t hold the towering 6-foot-6,  22-year old centerman out long.

For the purpose of this article, I will insert Rasmussen here.

Rasmussen, who proved to be a big-time scoring threat at the junior level, has struggled to be the same offensive weapon as a professional.  Despite spotty offensive consistency, Rasmussen, under the watchful eye of head coach Jeff Blashill is quickly transitioning into a competent defensive-minded center that can shut down the opponent’s top line.

Blashill will continue to use Rasmussen as a shutdown center that can also be a net-front presence on the power-play and help work on the teams’ penalty kill.  I feel that the Red Wings saw enough from Rasmussen last season to feel comfortable moving on from Luke Glendening, who they allowed to walk in free agency.

Rasmussen needs to improve in the faceoff circle, having only won 44.4% of his draws in 2020-21.  Last year in his second full NHL season, Rasmussen recorded three goals, 12 points in 40 games.

Similar to Rasmussen, Givani Smith is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.  If he can play, he will make for a perfect fourth-line winger for Detroit’s fourth unit.  The problem, I need to get Adam Erne in this lineup, and this is the ideal spot.

Erne led the Detroit Red Wings with 11 goals last season, along with totaling 20 points.  If the Detroit Red Wings elect to move on without Bobby Ryan, Erne will skate on the third line this season.  If Ryan makes the club, Erne fits nicely on this fourth line that, in all honesty, should see the same and more ice-time than the third line on many nights.

The 26-year old forward Steve Yzerman brought over from Tampa Bay brings some much-needed grit to the lineup and will have a significant role as a bottom-six depth scorer this season.

Veteran forward Sam Gagner will likely round out the Detroit Red Wings’ fourth line.  Gagner is a reliable forward that can play center or either wing, and Gagner can also contribute to all aspects of the game, including the power-play.

The 32-year old forward signed a one-year extension worth $850,000 to remain with the Red Wings this past offseason, and he will also be relied upon to fill the defensive role left behind by Glendening.

Gagner recorded 15 points and scored seven times last season over 42 games.  He can play on either the third or fourth line and should be somewhat of an unsung hero for the Red Wings throughout the 2021-22 season.

Notable forwards that will see playing time this season as injuries and slumps occur: Taro Hirose, Mitchell Stephens, Givani Smith, Carter Rowney.

Next. 5 players to keep an eye on in the 2021-22 season. dark

Detroit Red Wings fourth line prediction: Michael Rasmussen (C), Adam Erne (LW), Sam Gagner (RW).