May 13 2014 12:19PM
According to a report coming from Mattias Ek of Expressen, the Vancouver Canucks - to go along with the Philadelphia Flyers - are one of the two teams most notably interested in undrafted free agent Dennis Rasmussen.
The player in question has a few things working for him: he's big, he's Swedish, and we're currently witnessing that combination of attributes translate quite nicely to the NHL level. But as is the case with most player comparisons, it's a rather unfair thing to put on the plate of the guy being measured up against his predecessor. Expectations can be a cruel mistress.
With that being said, we'll look into the resume of the player in question just past the jump. After all, we're currently mired in a hellish month for talking points, so any news is good news at this point.
You can read more on Rasmussen via that aforementioned report by Expressen here. I know that I did, because using Google Translate to go from Swedish to English is one of my favourite pastimes; there are all sorts of goofy little nuggets that come up when lost in translation, making things like "Calle IronHook" a fantastic reality.
Back to Rasmussen, though, who despite scoring 16 goals for the second consecutive season with the Växjö Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League, needed an additional ten games played to match his output from last year. He did lead his team in scoring, but it can't be overly inspiring that he just barely outproduced former Canucks 2nd round pick Anton Rodin on a per-game basis, considering that Rodin's short tenure in North America could be aptly summarized as a gross disappointment.
Carl Soderberg, who's a player that'll surely be brought up as something of a blueprint for Rasmussen, was drafted by the Blues in the 2nd round back in '04, crushed in the Swedish League around a point-per-game for years, which is to say that the comparisons between the two should probably begin and end with their shared nationality and build. The pedigree and production don't seem to line up between the two.
In terms of trying to dig up some more information on Rasmussen online, there wasn't all that much to work with. Youtube has this one highlight of a nice little goal he put home on a 2-on-1, but that's about it on that front.
I did have a chance to quickly touch base with friend of the blog and prospect guru Corey Pronman, who had the following to say about Rasmussen:
"He's an ok prospect. Big, strong forward with some two-way ability but as a potential NHLer he's probably a 4th liner, 3rd in a best case scenario."
.. which seems to mostly sync up with what Elite Prospects has on him, as well. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because as we became painfully aware of this season, having bottom-6 players that are capable of filling their roles respectably is a legitimate advantage for a hockey club in today's NHL. Particularly if he can play down the middle, and use his size against the big bodies the Western Conference's best teams boast.
This'll become a popular phrase on this platform throughout the coming summer months, but it bears repeating -- make sure to temper your expectations on this "prospect" (with that term being used loosely, based on his age). After all, he's something of a late-bloomer that was passed up by NHL teams in the past time and time again for a reason. Not every Swedish player the Canucks touch turns to gold.