Rasmussen, Grand Rapids, Prospects & More

Now that we’re a little over the fourth quarter of the season, I thought this was a good time to open my mailbox and see what questions you want about the Detroit Red Wings so far this season. Needless to say, you did not let me down.

This time we will look at Michael Rasmussen’s role with the team, how the Cabinet looks down in the American Hockey League (AHL), what the prospects are for their debut in the foreseeable future, and what the Red Wings’ primary focus will be on the race. of the 2022 offseason. Tighten yourself, it’s time to sort through the mail.

Is there a chance that the Red Wings will pull the plug on Rasmussen this season?

@BillyDHowell

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: it has been a bit frustrating to see Rasmussen this season. After making progress in his development last season, this year it looks like he has stagnated at best and gone backwards at worst. Although he’s still doing some of the things that earned him a spot in Detroit last season, he’s not doing those things near enough to feel confident his game is heading in the right direction. As one of five players that the Red Wings have signed with during the 2022-2023 season, you’d like to see the big center really start to take root as a staple of Detroit’s bottom six.

Michael Rasmussen Red Wings bench
Michael Rasmussen, Detroit Red Wings (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Instead, Rasmussen finds that he struggles to consistently influence the game while playing on the Red Wings’ match-up line, which also features Vladislav Namestnikov and Adam Erne. He has seven points through 22 games and a minus-6 rating, while he has an average of 15:26 in ice time. Although I do not think he has been bad this season, he also does not make me feel confident that his place is secured. If Anthony Mantha can be traded fresh from a new contract, so can Rasmussen.

However, I do not think that general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman is necessarily in a hurry to move Rasmussen. Still only 22 years old, Rasmussen is a player who still has time to develop as a player, and the work he put in last year to win a spot in Detroit should still serve as an example for the other younger guys in Red Wings’ system. He still largely has the potential to develop into a top-tier match-up center, and that’s exactly what the team is trying to shape him into. If they can get him there, he will become a very valuable member of this team.

If there is another team out there that agrees with that assessment and likes the term and ceiling on Rasmussen’s contract, I would not be surprised to hear his name on the rumor mill. The Red Wings have no plans to give him away for a fourth-round pick; if they move on from a player like this at this stage of his career (he has still only played 124 games in the NHL), it will be because they have been given an offer that is too good to pass up. It is on the other 31 teams in the league that make that offer.

How strange is it that the closets are so just in Grand Rapids?

@AllThingsDET

I had the pleasure of taking my first Grand Rapids Griffins match of the season last weekend and I was disappointed to see how relatively easily they folded after coughing up a 3-0 lead they had heading into the third period. You see, I was disappointed, not because they lost the match, but because they have the talent and the players needed to put those kinds of matches away, even though the team is not filled with first-round picks, as it was a few seasons ago. .

However, this question raises a good point. While the Griffins have some very talented young players in the form of Taro Hirose, Jonatan Berggren, Kirill Tyutyayev, Jared McIsaac and Donovan Sebrango, the Red Wings’ lookout pool as a whole sees most of its talent play elsewhere, be it abroad in Europe or at the junior level here in North America. Meanwhile, the Griffins rely on AHL veterans like Riley Barber, Brian Lashoff and Kyle Criscuolo to provide the necessary depth the team needs.

Related: Unsung in Detroit, A Leader in Grand Rapids: the Brian Lashoff Story

Kyle Criscuolo Grand Rapids Griffins
Kyle Criscuolo, Grand Rapids Griffins (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

So why is that? Some of it comes down to playing time and the fact that not all prospects the Red Wings have are under contract. The only forward-looking prospect under the age of 23 that Red Wings has under contract is Berggren. In defense, the Red Wings have McIsaac and Sebrango who meet the same criteria, but they also have Eemil Viro and Albert Johansson under contract, but they play abroad. Even Tyutyayev, while a Red Wings draft pick, is technically only on an AHL contract with the Griffins.

I think the metaphorical “closets” are naked in Grand Rapids for a few reasons.

  1. The Red Wings, as well as any team in the NHL, can only have 50 contracts at a given time. The Red Wings currently have 43 on the books, and you can bet they want to save space for some of their other prospects playing in Europe and at the collegiate level, as well as any dispensation or trade pickups they may make.
  2. Playing time is crucial. It makes more sense for a player like Viro to play as many minutes as possible in Finland than it does to fight Sebrango and McIsaac for the top four minutes with the Griffins.
  3. The Red Wings’ front office may well evaluate the Griffins’ coaching staff to see how they fare with a team that is not star-studded like some of the other teams Griffins’ head coach Ben Simon has had. While Yzerman and Griffins GM Pat Verbeek appear to be happy with Jeff Blashill behind the bench in Detroit, I think the jury is still in doubt as to whether they want Simon to be the man behind the bench in Grand Rapids in the future.

One thing is for sure: the Griffins are performing poorly right now and have a 7-7-2 record, good for fourth place in the AHL’s Central Division. If they do not pick up speed quickly, it will be exciting to see what Yzerman and / or Verbeek do to rectify the situation.

When can we begin to see some North American prospects take the leap to AHL or even NHL level?

@ZackTrathenn

It is always difficult to determine NHL or even AHL timelines because there are so many different factors and variables to consider and a number of them we will not necessarily find out until long after. There‚Äôs also the fact that there are a limited amount of roster spots on the NHL and AHL teams, and the Red Wings are certainly not going to fill any of them completely with rookie players. So with that in mind, let’s look at who could challenge the NHL team first.

Donovan Sebrando Kitchener Rangers
Donovan Sebrango, pictured with Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

With every left-handed defender on the Red Wings’ list not named Jordan Oesterle on an expiring contract, there should be an opening for Sebrango to really make a push for the NHL next season. Honestly, he, along with Johansson and Simon Edvinsson, could all play for the same rankings next year, depending on whether the Red Wings are active in free agency (more on that in a moment). Sebrango has been very impressive since joining the Griffins last season and has continued the strong, responsible game this season.

Another player who may soon knock on the door is defender McIsaac. He has in a way become the forgotten man from the draft class in 2018, even though he was only taken three choices after the Red Wings scooped Berggren early in the second round of the draft. He scored his first professional goal against the Chicago Wolves last Friday, and at some point, the Red Wings will probably want to see what they have with that prospect.

As for players wanting to make their AHL debut, it’s worth noting at the top that these players will debut towards the end of this season, if at all, because they have to quit their current team before taking to Grand Rapids. What is more likely in almost every case here is that they will make their debut next season.

Cross Hanas (55th overall, 2020) has a productive season with the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League with 19 points through 20 games. He creates acting consistently and there’s just an aura of confidence around him that was not really there last season. Personally, I would still like to see him take his game to another level, and I’m a little worried about his discipline, but he looks like he should be worthy of an entry-level contract once his season with the Winterhawks is over.

The second forward who I think could move over to the AHL next year is Robert Mastrosimone (54th overall, 2019). Now in his junior season with Boston University, he has 11 points through 15 games so far this season, while continuing to play the maximum effort, two-way game that made him a second round. I’m not entirely sure he will become a professional after this season – he just has not taken the leap forward as you would like to see – but unless he wants to finish his education, it may be time to continue his education. development towards professionals in the AHL. File this under “we wait and see.”

Will the Red Wings seek out a top center in the draft and a left-handed defender in the Free Agency?

@ dyllooo42

Yes.

To elaborate a bit, the Red Wings’ motto on the way into the draft will undoubtedly be “the best player on the market”. But given their depth on the blue line, if the “best available player” is a defender or even a goalkeeper, I think they will look elsewhere. The hope and prayer around Hockeytown should be that they can land one of the best centers available in next year’s draft (Shane Wright, Matthew Savoie, Conor Geekie, Brad Lambert), but if they find themselves in a position to add one of the top wingers (Ivan Miroshnichenko, Danila Yurov, Joakim Kemell) who would surely also help the Red Wings’ quest for star power up front. I’m a person who strives to build on the wings, so if they can not take one of the top centers, this draft is still far from a lost cause.

Related: The red wings need to be built up on the wings

As for free agency, much of it will depend on two things:

  1. What are they doing with Nick Leddy?
  2. How many leads, if any, do they expect to join the blue line?

I think Leddy has fitted in very well this season. As a 30-year-old, he is someone who still has tread left on his tires and offers the veteran presence that this team needs as it keeps getting younger and younger, especially on the blue line. I would seriously consider offering him an extension of two years, but it goes without saying that if Yzerman can find a good enough offer out there for Leddy’s services, then he will pull the trigger.

Nick Leddy Detroit Red Wings
Nick Leddy, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Scott W. Grau / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

I also think Edvinsson will get a good look during training camp next season and if he can lock a roster spot, he’s going to play enough minutes to qualify to play in Detroit over Grand Rapids or Sweden. If they keep Leddy on top of that, they just need to fill the left side of the third pair and the Red Wings will have plenty of options to fill that need. If they do not keep Leddy and one of the kids fails to seize a spot on the list, they will have to fill that gap somehow. While I’m in favor of calling the Colorado Avalanche, the free agency has a few options that could be worthwhile (Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks is the largest fish currently expected to be available.)

When will I receive the official recognition from the Red Wings as a team mother?

@Adri_Unsung

After seeing your Mickey Redmond and Robby Fabbri posters, I think it’s only a matter of time.

Next postpose

I expect to make another one of these around halfway the mark of the season. If you would like your question included in the next, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@HockeyWithDevin), or leave a comment below!



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