Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks 2016-17 Over/Under: Dennis Rasmussen

By Mario Tirabassi
Feb 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Dennis Rasmussen (70) celebrates scoring a goal during the third period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Chicago won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Dennis Rasmussen (70) celebrates scoring a goal during the third period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Chicago won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the regular season begins in just a couple of weeks, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to improve on their early exit last season. The team kicks off training camp at Johnny’s IceHouse West in Chicago on September 23. Over the next few weeks, Blackhawk Up will give projections for the stats of each player heading into the season, based off the trend of past three seasons, career averages and potential linemate projections. 

Will Dennis Rasmussen see an increased role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ bottom six?

Last season, Chicago Blackhawks Center Dennis Rasmussen made a big jump in his professional career after spending his first full season in North America in the AHL. The 26-year old Swede made the jump in 2014 from the SHL in Sweden to the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs and put together a fine season in his first year. In 2015-16, Rasmussen spent the majority of his time with the Blackhawks in the NHL, skating in 44 games and playing a decent role as a bottom-six center in the absence of Marcus Kruger.

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It was a bit of a carousel in the third and fourth-line Center position for the Blackhawks but Rasmussen made the biggest impact in his audition and looks to build upon it in 2016-17. More than likely, Rasmussen will get one of, if not the first crack at being the Blackhawks third or fourth-line Center once the season gets underway. Obviously that is all based on what they do with Kruger, but no matter, Rasmussen will get his shot this season.

At six-foot-three, and a shade above 200-pounds, Rasmussen provides a big body in the middle of the ice and has a balance of skills both offensively and defensively. He likes to play physical when necessary and gets to the front of the net for most of his scoring chances. Possibly playing alongside smaller forwards like Tyler Motte and Vince Hinostorza would fit nicely with Rasmussen’s size and playing style.

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Factors

Last Three Seasons (SHL/AHL/NHL):

  • 2013-14: 52 GP – 16g, 24a, 40Pts, +6, 18:26 TOI (with Vaxjo Lakers HC)
  • 2014-15: 73 GP – 13g, 14a, 27Pts, +9 (with Rockford IceHogs)
  • 2015-16:
    • AHL: 25 GP – 7g, 9a, 16Pts, -1
    • NHL: 44 GP – 4g, 5a, 9Pts, +9, 9:10 TOI

Career Average:

  • 82 Game AVG: 7g, 9a, 16Pts, +16, 9:10 TOI

Potential Line-mates:

Projection: 6G, 12A, 18Pts

If Rasmussen gets the first shot at playing in a bottom-six Center role and can do enough to hold it early on, his chances at being in that position full-time is high. Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville gave Rasmussen a decent amount of ice-time last season and if he can build on his 2015-16 season, he’ll more than likely play 60-plus games at the NHL level in 2016-17.

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Writer Prediction: Slightly Under

While it would bode well for Rasmussen to play well early on in this season, the opportunity to stick in the lineup will be short-lived due to the amount of young talent that will be in his exact same position.

Consistency and stability in a lineup is a big key to success, but Quenneville will undoubtedly use the carousel of players available to him early in the season to see what he has to play with in 2016-17.

Players like Tanner Kero and Mark McNeill will be able to play some time in the Blackhawks bottom-six Center role as well, so it remains to be seen who will move into the front-runner spot heading into October.

For Rasmussen, he’ll have to really impress to get the same amount, and then more chances as he did last season. It will be tough to break through, but Rasmussen is in a prime position to be a standout  early on this year. Therefore, the production projection for Dennis Rasmussen is 18 points for the 2016-17 season.

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