Red Wings: Three players with breakout potential in season’s second half

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The Detroit Red Wings have had their fair share of breakout players already this season. Rookies Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider have hit the ground running in the NHL, and players like Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi are playing some of the best hockey of their careers. Could the Red Wings see a few more players breakout in the second half of the year?

Michael Rasmussen

Rasmussen has been tied to his draft selection his entire career. In 2017, the big center was selected ninth overall by Detroit. Since then, Rasmussen has been haunted by the expectations of a top ten selection.

If you judge Rasmussen by where he was picked in the draft, he’s been a bust. Considering his career trajectory, it’s hard to say that ‘Ras will ever live up to the lofty expectations that accompany a top ten selection. This year, things started off especially bad for Rasmussen, as he consistently lost puck battles and contributed nothing offensively. But as the season has progressed, Rasmussen has looked more and more comfortable on Detroit’s bottom-six, contributing offensively and staying strong on defense.

A breakout year for Rasmussen won’t look like a Raymond or Seider breakout. It’ll be more time on ice, more pucks tipped in at the front of the net and more individual puck battles won. It’s by no means a certainty, but things are looking up for Rasmussen this season.

Joe Veleno

Joe Veleno has yet to make on impact on the roster. With fantastic seasons from Seider and Raymond, it’s easy to overlook the first round draft pick from 2018, especially considering he has just four points this year.

Veleno started the year off in Grand Rapids, where he played seven games before his move up to the Red Wings (injuries made room for him). In the NHL, Veleno has yet to look truly comfortable. His contributions are pretty miniscule and his play on the ice is often unremarkable. However, Veleno is still a young player with plenty of potential — he just may need a bit more time to adjust to the NHL level. The second half of the season could be Veleno’s chance to really make a mark on this team.

Filip Zadina

Filip Zadina was pegged as one of the biggest potential breakout stars for the Red Wings heading into the season, but he has yet to live up to that potential. In fact, Zadina’s been one of the most disappointing players on the roster. He has just four goals and seven assists in 40 games. His minutes have been slashed and he’s been moved from the second line to the bottom-six.

Despite all of his struggles, Zadina is still a young player with plenty of potential. He’s shown flashes of it throughout his time in Detroit, but he just can’t seem to capitalize on his momentum (or finish on scoring chances). All will be forgiven if Zadina finally breaks through in the ladder half of the season. By living up to expectations, he could massively accelerate the rebuild. A lot of Zadina’s stats have been solid this year – the second half of the season could see him finally start to consistently find the back of the net.

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