The latest in our series on top prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft examines Michael Rasmussen, a 6-6, 221-pound center who played for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. Hailed as the "most physically gifted player in the draft" by the Red Line Report, Rasmussen is considered one of the better goal scorers in his year's draft. He scored 32 goals in 50 games before suffering a season-ending wrist injury. Rasmussen is ranked as high as eighth on many of the independent/media lists for the draft.
Height/Weight: 6-6/221 pounds
Born: April 17, 1999
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia
2016-17 Team: Tri-City (Western Hockey League)
NHL Central Scouting: 5th among North American skaters
International Scouting Services: 10th among all skaters
TSN: 8th among all players
The Hockey News: 8th among all players
Red Line Report: 8th among all players
ESPN: 18th among all skaters
Video: The 6'6" center shares his NHL Combine experience
Rasmussen tallied 55 points (32 goals, 23 assists) in 50 games for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, including a team-high 15 power-play goals. He suffered a fractured wrist in late February and missed the rest of the regular season and playoffs. He recorded four points (one goal, three assists) in four games for Canada at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
Rasmussen led Tri-City rookies in goals (18) and points (43) while playing 63 games in 2015-16. He played for Canada Black at the 2015 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, recording three points (two goals, one assist) in five games. He helped Okanagan Hockey Academy to the Canadian Sport School Hockey League Championship in 2014-15, registering 50 points (27 goals, 23 assists) in 28 regular season games and eight points (three goals, five assists) in three playoff games. Tri-City selected Rasmussen 7th overall in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.
"Excellent combination of size and skill - can play a power forward type of game using size and strength to his advantage - moves well for a big man and is always on top of the play - excellent play-making ability recognizing opportunity and setting up in the offensive zone - possesses a natural goal scorer's touch and can score in a variety of ways - smart game with and without the puck." - NHL Central Scouting (NHL.com)
"Has top five overall physical tools, but some nights the effort doesn't look like top five. Tremendous combination of power and skill. Very mobile skater for his size and does a great job of puck protection using his ultra-long reach. … Huge and naturally strong; comes away with the puck nearly every time in board battles. Nearly half his goals came from standing in front on the PP, and we're concerned that we didn't see as much passing/playmaking ability as we expected." - Red Line Report 2017 NHL Draft Guide (redlinereport.com)
"Big time upside if he puts it all together. Still growing into his body. A raw offensive product that will need more seasoning." - Dennis MacInnis, International Scouting Services 2017 NHL Draft Guide (isshockey.com)