After a not so great start to the season, the Detroit Red Wings 22 year old center, Michael Rasmussen, has played well to start the new year. Could this be the progression fans have been waiting to see all season?
Rasmussen had a very solid game against the San Jose Sharks, as the offense netted six goals on the night. He collected one assist on an excellent pass to Pius Suter at the front of the net. When Rasmussen is successful offensively, he’s not making the flashy plays. He’s crashing into the o-zone, putting pucks on net and tossing high-danger passes to the front of the net.
Rasmussen has been consistently good defensively. Although he’s iffy (at best) in puck battles, he doesn’t make life easy for opposing forwards when he’s in his defensive zone.
Also, some of the stats seem to be heading in the right direction. According to Evolving-hockey, the forward has 1.6 goals above replacement and 0.3 wins above replacement. He’s hovering right around the middle of the pack, which isn’t bad, considering how rough the start of the season was. The possession metrics aren’t nearly as friendly; Rasmussen’s Fenwick and Corsi for are just above 40 percent (although most of the team has substandard possession metrics). But again, considering his performance throughout the first couple of months, it’s nice to see that he’s statistically improving.
Of course, Rasmussen needs to develop much more in order to secure a long term position with the team. But lately, it looks as though the young forward is finally taking some strides in the right direction. And, fair or not, he’ll also have to carry the weight of being a first round draft pick. Is Rasmussen one of the better forwards on the team? No. But it’s good to see a young player finally start to carve out a role for themselves. Let’s see if Big ‘Ras can continue to trend upwards.