Selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Michael Rasmussen has yet to live up to the lofty goals associated with the first wave of players off the board – especially at nine.
After a few years of hopping between Grand Rapids and Detroit, struggling to crack the main roster, Rasmussen finally found a regular spot in the lineup last season. While he still didn’t meet top ten draft pick expectations, Rasmussen finally began to look like an NHL player, utilizing his 6-foot-6 frame to set screens at the front of the net and win puck battles, as well as improving his skating. His scoring was a bit lackluster, putting up just three goals and nine assists in 40 games, but again, there were improvements elsewhere. The organization saw the development too, signing Rasmussen to a three-year contract to the team. Could he have finally starting trending towards those first round expectations?
However, in a limited sample size, it seems that Rasmussen hasn’t quite taken that next step yet this year. It looks like he forgot how to properly use his frame; he hasn’t been a presence at the front of the net yet and he isn’t consistently outmatching opponents with it. His shot and offensive playmaking have never been his biggest sells, but they have become more obvious as other skillsets have improved. Rasmussen can’t seem to finish on chances, or even create as many as he was last year. Currently, he holds a corsi-for relative of -15.3.
In the vey few games Red Wings fans have witnessed this season, it seems as though his development has stalled, or even regressed. He has plenty of time to fix it if he finishes out his three-year contract with Detroit, but Steve Yzerman is not afraid to move on from a player if they can’t perform. As the team continues to take steps forward, the organization is going to expect Rasmussen to step with them. Development is going to be key this year, and it’s not been a great start thus far. Rasmussen has the toolkit to put it together – fans saw flashes of it last year. However, he consistency is key as he tries to stick to the future of the team.