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By the Numbers Prospects: Michael Rasmussen

Towering forward determined to make Red Wings out of training camp

by Arthur J. Regner @ArthurJRegner / DetroitRedWings.com

By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2017-18 season for the Detroit Red Wings' prospects. Twice a week during the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player in the system, focusing on their statistical highs. This week we focus on center/left wing Michael Rasmussen.

Michael Rasmussen is all business. In fact, he may be the most serious 19-year-old on Earth.

That isn't a knock against Detroit's first-round pick, ninth overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

He is a focused young man who is completely consumed with being a Detroit Red Wing.

Over the last two seasons, Rasmussen has dealt with two separate wrist injuries, which limited his playing time for the Western Hockey League's (WHL) Tri-City Americans.

In his draft year in 2017, Rasmussen fractured his left wrist in February and though the wrist didn't require surgery, his season was over.

Rasmussen played in 50 out of 72 games for the Americans, finishing with 55 points (32 goals, 23 assists, minus-13). Twenty-nine of his points came on the power play (15 goals, 14 assists).

Last December, after playing in pain for the first part of the season, Rasmussen was examined by the Wings' doctors for an injured wrist (unrelated to the fractured wrist of the year before) and they suggested surgery.

Rasmussen underwent successful surgery at Christmastime and several weeks later returned to the Tri-City lineup.

With Rasmussen electing to have surgery at midseason, it shows the character and commitment he has to becoming not only a high-end player, but a leader as well.

Because he wanted to be 100 percent for the Tri-City Americans' playoff run as their captain and to fully prepare for Red Wings training camp in an effort to make the team, Rasmussen opted for surgery instead of playing through the wrist pain.

It's this mature thought process which convinced the Red Wings to draft the 6-foot-6, 221-pound, center/left wing in 2017. He blew Red Wings officials away with his composure during his interview.

Rasmussen's answers to Detroit's questions were clear, concise and reflective.

If he does indeed (as expected) make the Red Wings out of camp, Rasmussen's junior career was impressive.

In 161 games played for Tri-City, he notched 81 goals, doled out 76 assists for 157 points. He was plus-8 with 40 of his goals and 27 of his assists coming on the power play.

Out of his 157 career points, 67 were scored on the power player (40 goals, 27 assists), which is a testament to his incredible hand-eye coordination and his net-front presence.

Rasmussen is a big body with the wing span of a condor. Once he possesses the puck, it's difficult to take it away from him. His big frame and reach allow him to control the game when he's on the ice.

Everything appears to be falling into place for the British Columbia native. Rasmussen is healthy and feeling confident about his game.

With Detroit looking to improve its punchless power play, combined with Rasmussen's skill set, the Wings' elixir could very well be a 19-year-old who is truly wise beyond his years.

47 - Total number of games he played in last season, which was three fewer than in the 2016-17 campaign.

31 - Despite playing three fewer games, his 31 goals were only one less than the 32 he notched for Tri-City the previous season and the second most for the Americans. Grand Rapids Griffins signee Jordan Topping led Tri-City with 38 goals.

28 - His 28 assists were five better than the 23 he registered during the 2016-17 season.

59 - Rasmussen's total number of points he accumulated last season, which ranked fourth on the Americans, despite missing 25 games due to wrist surgery.

+17 - After being minus-13 in the 2016-17 season, Rasmussen's plus-17 was tops on the Americans.

17 - Considered a whiz on the power play, he led the Americans with 17 extra-man tallies. His 17 power-play goals also ranked fifth overall in the WHL.

1.26 - His points-per-game average, which led Tri-City.

33 - In 14 playoff games, Rasmussen led Tri-City in scoring, amassing 33 points with 16 goals, 17 assists and finishing plus-8. He scored an astonishing 24 points in his first eight playoff games.

4 - Appearing in five preseason games for the Wings last year, Rasmussen scored four goals, which paced the Red Wings' preseason attack.

9 - Detroit selected Rasmussen in the first round, ninth overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago. In the second round the Wings selected defenseman Gustav Lindstrom, 38th overall. Rasmussen is the fourth player the Red Wings have taken ninth overall in the NHL Amateur/Entry Draft. Forward Ron Barkwell was taken by the Wings ninth overall in the 1967 NHL Amateur Draft. In the 1974 Entry Draft, Detroit picked left wing Bill Lochead with the ninth overall selection and in the 1978 Entry Draft, defenseman Willie Huber was the Red Wings selection.

Quotable: "I definitely feel good about my game. I worked extremely hard this summer on my off-ice and on my on-ice, so the fact that I put in a lot of hours in the gym and on the ice helps me in my confidence, so I feel there's opportunity here and I want to come in and do my best and be a good teammate." - Rasmussen

Quotable II: "I actually think one thing he can get better at and him and I've talked about this is I think he can hold onto the puck, but I think he can still get better at making plays on the cycle. I think he's been able to make some real good plays when he's standing still but I think when he gets his feet moving and he's cut back, and he's still got to be able to make some more of those plays on the cycle, a la (Red Wings captain Henrik) Zetterberg and guys like that, (Pittsburgh's Sidney) Crosby can do that real well. So, it's just something we'll work with him on. He was an excellent net-front presence in the prospects tournament, he's a huge, huge man who's got good eye-hand and he's got good ability to position himself. That was a real good thing, I thought he was real good on the forecheck in the last game (Tuesday's championship game versus Columbus), laid a couple big hits. If he does that, he's going to be on the puck lots. I thought he had a good prospects tournament, now he has to have a great camp." - Jeff Blashill, Red Wings head coach.

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