What the Michael Rasmussen Signing Means for the Detroit Red Wings

Photo Credit Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo Credit Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings have signed Michael Rasmussen to a four-year, $12.8 million contract extension. The 24-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, scored 11 goals and added 12 assists in 55 games played for the Red Wings during the 2023-24 season. Drafted ninth overall in the 2017 NHL entry draft, Rasmussen was thought to be able to use his big size to be a net-front presence and play along the boards.

Related Post: Detroit Red Wings Sign Forward to Extension

The message from general manager Steve Yzerman and coach Derek Lalonde during his exit interview was to “be hungry, get after it this summer, and take another step.” Yzerman must see Rasmussen as a valuable piece of the bottom six of the Red Wings’ roster. Rasmussen has taken this to heart. “He’s put some trust in me. That meant a lot,” Rasmussen, 24, said. “Just thanked him for believing in me and sticking by me. There’s been ups and downs in my career. That’s meant a lot to me. I’ll keep working hard for him.”

The NHL’s salary cap is expected to rise to $87.7 million for the 2024-25 season, according to Commissioner Gary Bettman. This means that the cap hit of $3.2 million will be lessened as a percentage of the salary cap as the contract lives on. This is a tidy piece of business that Yzerman has done, who, in his time as general manager of the Red Wings, has shown that he is willing to weaponize his team’s salary cap space to improve the roster.

Rasmussen has changed positions during his time with the Red Wings. Under former head coach Jeff Blashill, Rasmussen moved from center to the left wing. This was to be able to stick on the Red Wings’ lineup, something that was in question just two seasons ago. The center depth has not been the strongest in the Red Wings’ organization, particularly when it comes to centers with an elite ability to score. Rasmussen scored a career-high of 15 goals in 80 games played during the 2021-22 NHL season.

Rasmussen has played well not only on the offensive side of the game but also on defense. Paired with Andrew Copp and Christian Fischer for most of this season, Rasmussen has been part of a Red Wings’ defense that has a 5-on-5 goals share of 56 percent. Rasmussen’s offensive ability, limited though it may be, led Lalonde to move him up the lineup to play with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond on the Red Wings’ first line. Gone are the days of Larkin needing to carry the scoring load on his line.

Rasmussen will have just turned 29 years old at the end of this contract. The Red Wings may or may not be in their “window” to win a Stanley Cup by then. If the 11 goals scored in 55 games played in the 2023-24 NHL season is the peak of his scoring, Rasmussen can exist on the Red Wings’ fourth line. This ranks tied for seventh most goals scored on the team this season. This type of player can be valuable to a team looking to be Stanley Cup champions.

As far as the 2023-24 Detroit Red Wings are concerned, the team is looking to make a push into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 7 seasons. 12 different Red Wings, Rasmussen included, have scored at least 10 goals this season. The Surrey, British Columbia native has become a valuable member of the Red Wings’ roster. Any NHL general manager would gladly take this type of player if you could guarantee that they were drafted with the ninth overall pick in the NHL draft.

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