The level of unpredictability in the 2017 NHL Draft is higher than almost any draft I can remember. Outside of the top two prospects, it is almost impossible to judge what is going to happen. With the Colorado Avalanche selecting fourth overall, that leaves the door wide open for any number of picks; including our next prospect, Michael Rasmussen.
For the previous prospect, Miro Heiskanen, click here.
Michael Rasmussen plays with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. He is a left-shooting center who has played two full seasons with the Americans.
He is 6’6″ and 215 lbs., and is the fifth ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting.
Rasmussen is the type of prospect that leaves a lot of teams drooling when they look at his game. One thing he automatically has going for him is his size. He’s huge. 6’6″ and still has room in his frame to pack on muscle at a mere 215 pounds. As you would expect from a guy like this, he makes much of his living sitting right in front of the net because he’s nearly impossible to move. What makes him dangerous is that he has the excellent hands necessary to coral rebounds and finish from close in. Scouts praise his hands, his shot, his skating, his work ethic, all of it. To make the package even more enticing, he is one of the best two-way players in the draft. Lots to like.
HE’S PLAYING WITH MUCH MORE CONFIDENCE THIS SEASON. HE’S ADAPTED TO PLAYING A BIGGER ROLE AND PLAYING HEAVY MINUTES AGAINST OPPONENTS’ TOP LINES AND DEFENSE. THE GAME HAS SLOWED DOWN FOR HIM A LITTLE BIT AND HE’S JUST THAT MUCH MORE POISED. HE CAN TAKE THAT EXTRA BIT OF TIME AND UNDERSTANDS HE CAN TAKE THAT TIME TO MAKE PLAYS AND SCORE GOALS.
Large competitive centreman with skill and good feet. A gritty,naturally strong player with mobility who wins most board scrums, he is a dominant player in the front and below the goal line. A mobile skater who is difficult to contain or move. He wins puck battles and scores. Intriguing prospect with upside offensively, difficult to contain, and effective vision and passing skills. Owns the front of the power play. Owns the area behind the goal line. He might look for the pass over shooting, Protects the biscuit well. Has an upright skating stride but gets there and shows jam when he greets you.He Is an effective two way centre, and rarely loses puck battles along the boards. The combination of power and skill is at the high end of this draft class, even though you might hope he would show a bit more effort all sixty minutes. A raw talent who may end up being the best player out of the West.
A big, skilled forward who uses his size well…has improved his skating substantially from his midget days…for a player his size, he moves phenomenally well, smoothly and with impressive power…does a very good job of consistently getting to the greasy areas of the ice; he wins a lot of battles in those areas due to his size and reach…goes to the net and blocks the goaltender’s view while looking for deflections and rebounds…not flashy hands, but can carry the puck using his body extremely well to protect it…has underrated vision and playmaking ability…needs some work on his shot as he currently lacks consistent accuracy and quickness in getting it off his blade…just knows how to utilize his strengths to make a difference…uses his reach to disrupt opponents and get into lanes…willing to block shots…has a ways to go, but could be special and has loads of upside.
Rasmussen is a prospect NHL scouts will be fighting for their team to draft. He is a big bodied center with NHL ready size; he skating is above average thanks to his long powerful stride. He has a high compete level and uses his size well in puck battles and to finish checks, but he could be a little more aggressive or mean. His offensive skills are elite as he owns good playmaking vision but is also an accomplished goal scorer. Scores a lot of goals in close to the net where he uses his size as a net presence, screen and can score on tips, rebounds and deflections.Rasmussen will have added value in multi cat leagues as he will contribute points, faceoff wins, hits and penalty minutes.
With his size, skating, skill and smarts he has all the makings of a first or second line NHL center.
The rangy center has soft hands, quick release deadly accuracy and a heavy shot that make him a rarity – a big pivot with 40-goal NHL upside. Consistency in his work ethic is his major area in need of improvement. Looks like he’s not a fast skater at times mainly because he can stop moving his feet…he has good power in his stride. A broken wrist sidelined him in February for the remainder of the season, but not before notching 32 goals in just 50 games. Projects as a goal-scoring top-two center.
Other scout quotes from Recrutes.ca.
Hard to find those 6-5 guys who can score 30 goals. We all like the talented guys and when you’ve got the size to go with it…hard to find those guys. When you’re not running n NHL team and you think they’re all going small skilled guys..whatever…that’s the attitude..but you still have to have size. He may not be top five…but he’s not far off if he’s not. There’s a lot of opinion on what the order is from 3-10…but you’re not making a mistake taking him at five. Arguably 3-10 you can put them any way you want. You can argue them all.
Now that is a prospect! He has a terrific shot. He’s going to score goals in the NHL with his size and hands, especially with that shot.
Should the Avalanche Draft Him?
As I mentioned at the start of the article, it is almost impossible to predict where so many of these players outside of the top two picks are going to go. Rasmussen is no different and certainly provides a lot of reasons to like him. He does so many things that the Avalanche desperately lack and does them well. He plays all zones very well, he wins battles along the boards, his first instinct is to get to the net, he plays with jam, and he scores. All things the Avalanche need.
That being said, it’s really hard to tell if he is going to be the best option at fourth overall. Casey Mittelstadt, Owen Tippett, Cody Glass, and Gabriel Vilardi could easily go here, too. In the end, I don’t believe the Avalanche will select Rasmussen as I write this. I just think that one of the other players listed will match what the Avalanche want a bit better. This is not a knock to Rasmussen by any stretch, as I believe he will probably make some team very happy.