In our 2017 NHL Draft Preview, we look closely at some of the prospects that could be available when the Hurricanes draft at 12th overall on June 23 in Chicago.
- DOB: April 18, 1999 - Surrey, British Columbia
- Team: Tri-City Americans (WHL)
- Center | Shoots: L | 6’6”, 220 pounds
- 2016-17 Stats: 50 GP - 32G, 23A, 55 Points, 50 PIM
Rasmussen was having a terrific draft year before a wrist injury ended his WHL season as Tri-City was coming down the stretch towards the playoffs. His 32 goals in 50 games would have put him on pace for closer to 40 or 45 goals had been able to finish out his season.
Built in the mold of a power forward, the 6’6” monster pairs his massive size with a deft touch down low. Certainly he is still a bit raw with areas of his game that need to continue developing, but NHL GM’s salivate over a player who can be a 30-goal scorer and bring that type of size to the lineup.
In a draft where many of the top prospects lack elite size, Rasmussen sticks out, and it wouldn’t be surprising for an organization to become enamored by the tools he brings to the table. This has thrown his draft projection all over the board, because all it takes is one team to fall in love with a player and select him higher then many would have expected.
The BC native has a rare combination of size and skill that you don’t find with too many prospects. He has the ability to score from in close, using his soft hands to pop rebounds back in or deflect pucks and is often the first to locate a loose puck in the crease. Like many players of his size in junior, he uses his frame to pretty much do what he wants in front of the net, finishing off plays against smaller, lighter defensemen.
Rasmussen has pretty good feet for his build which allow him to move fluidly and stay balanced, and his shot from the circles and below is certainly above average in this draft class. He is hard to knock off the puck, and should develop into a player who can play the possession game behind the net, opening up space for his linemates.
He still has improvements to make in nearly all areas, but by all accounts has shown the willingness to work to refine his craft. His playmaking ability is nowhere near where it needs to be from the center ice position at this point, and I’d like to see him get quicker at releasing the puck. He has plenty of room to grow if he is willing to put in the work.
There is no doubt that Carolina prefers tall, talented forwards. Under GM Ron Francis, the club has added players such as Nicolas Roy, Julien Gauthier, Janne Kuokkanen, Hudson Elynuik and Warren Foegele, all of whom are 6’1” or bigger. Steven Lorentz and David Cotton are another pair of Carolina prospects who fit the bill. Rasmussen would be the biggest of the bunch, but also has the skill to be a difference maker around the net and on the power play that the Hurricanes need. There are certainly some reasons for pause, given the big forward’s lack of driving offense at even strength, and also that he may eventually be better on the wing than at center. His ceiling is high, even if there is a bit of a bust potential if he fails to improve his playmaking abilities.
Missing the last two months of the season may have dropped him back a bit in the first round since recency bias is a real thing, but Rasmussen certainly has the tools to be selected between 10 and 25. If the trend of favoring size and skill continues, there is a chance you could see Rasmussen pulling on a Canes sweater on June 23rd.