Doing as I did with the Pistons draft, I’m going to assume that the Wings make no moves tonight, and stand pat with their one pick in the first round. With that one pick, Detroit has their highest in over 25 years at ninth overall, their first top-10 pick since drafting Martin Lapointe 10th overall in 1991. With that pick, the Red Wings selected Michael Rasumussen, an 18-year old center from the Tri-City Americans.
Rasmussen is a bit of an odd ball pick to me, and I don’t know much about the NHL draft. However, I do know hockey, and know that the Wings needed a center very bad. Even before losing Tomas Nosek to Vegas in the expansion draft, a center was needed. And if there was any year to need a center, this was it. This draft is stacked with talent all around, but especially centers.
No matter, let’s dig into the pick. Rasmussen is 6’6, 221 pounds. He’s a big body and will be hard to get the puck from if he uses it to his full advantage. With looking at Rasmussen’s highlights, my god does he do just that. Not only can he use his body, but he’s a good skater too. With good offensive instinct, Rasmussen can be a bit of a two-way center, with both offensive production, and being a physical presence. I don’t think Rasmussen makes the roster right away like Dylan Larkin did because there’s still some aspects that need polishing and he’s coming off a wrist injury that held him out for about 3 months. No matter, if Rasmussen impresses in the preseason and training camp as Larkin did, there’s no doubt in my mind that he can come in and produce straight away.
I do think there were better options at ninth than Detroit was expecting, so they didn’t know what to do with themselves. I think they came in planning on taking Rasmussen, and didn’t have a plan for if Gabriel Vilardi made it to them, but he did just that. Was Rasmussen a good pick? Absolutely. Right now, were there better options left on the board? Without a shadow of a doubt. Rasmussen could be very valuable to this Red Wings team, and be a productive Top 6 forward if given the right opportunity.