The Detroit Red Wings saw fit to make forward Michael Rasmussen their top overall draft selection of 2017, and have seen enough from him so far in his young career to reward him during this offseason with a three-year contract extension.
And while his offensive statistics may not look like much (three goals and nine assists in 40 games during the 2020-21 NHL Season), his performance earned him more ice time from the coaching staff. He also came in second overall on the team with 72 hits, while being ranked fourth overall on the team in the face-off circle with 134 wins.
"I was pleased for sure. I think it was a big year for me," Rasmussen explained about last season's performance. "I started in GR, I had good people around me to support me, and once I got to Detroit, I just tried my best to contribute and play my game and play with confidence, play hard. So I think it was definitely positive for me and I think it's just a good stepping stone."
Head coach Jeff Blashill attested to Rasmussen's abilities, stating that he and the team feel confident using him in any situation.
"He's shown that he's a guy that was ready for the opportunity, and he's gained tons of experience," Blashill said. "He's been out there 5-on-6, he's been out there 6-on-5, power play, penalty kill. You hope that expedites his development."
"I'm really excited," Rasmussen said after his contract signing was made official. "I'm happy, obviously, to get it done, but to get it done early is really good. (I'm going to) keep working and getting ready for the season. To get it done is nice, just focus on hockey now, just keep trying to get better."
Speaking of getting better, it was GM Steve Yzerman who noticed the impact that the squad's younger players were making.
"I see a difference in their play from a year ago,” Yzerman said at the end of last season. “They are having more of an impact in each situation they’re in. They’re not regressing. You can see when guys are really competing and asserting themselves, regardless of what their statistics are, they are having a positive impact."
The 6'6, 229 lb. Rasmussen has recorded 30 points and 55 penalty minutes in 102 NHL games, along with 30 points while playing in 45 games with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.