Dennis Rasmussen brings much-needed size, offense to Blackhawks


Dennis Rasmussen brings much-needed size, offense to Blackhawks

It’s not often you hear a guy feel bad about scoring a goal.

Dennis Rasmussen was feeling that way on Sunday, a few minutes after pushing Bryan Bickell’s shot across the goal line. It probably would’ve gone in on its own but Rasmussen’s instincts told him to give it a nudge.

“I just wanted to make sure it was in,” he said. “I wished I’d just let that puck go so Bicksie could have scored.”

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Rasmussen may have felt bad, but his instinct was right. And his instincts and play overall thus far have made him a nice fit on the Blackhawks. The most recent call-up from the Rockford IceHogs, Rasmussen has two goals and an assist in his first five NHL games. He was brought up to add offense but the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Rasmussen also brings much-needed size. While they didn’t have their most noticeable game on Tuesday against Colorado – few in a Blackhawks jersey did – that third line of Bickell he and Andrew Shaw has looked better.

“Obviously you like his presence, his size. He’s a big guy, he’s strong and nice to see him score a couple goals,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “As a young guy coming in, sometimes you’re just trying to get through the game and you can be a reliable player for the coaches and it’s maybe hard to get on the score sheet right away. But he’s been able to do that and hopefully it gives him some confidence and he can keep doing what he’s been doing. He’s played a pretty simple game. He’s played a direct, straight-ahead game and he’s strong and gives us some added size.”

Bickell, who was also on a line with Rasmussen during his November stint in Rockford, said Rasmussen has fit in quickly.

“Me and Shawzy have been talking to him as much as possible on what [Coach Joel Quenneville] likes. I think he’s adapted well,” Bickell said. “The ice time he’s had, he’s made the most of it. I know what the coaching staff likes what it sees.”

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Rasmussen’s had a nice NHL debut with the Blackhawks. He may have felt bad about getting that goal but his instincts are serving him well. Who knows how long the third-line trio stays together – lines usually change after a loss – but Rasmussen is feeling good about his first few games here and credits his line mates for making it easier.

“Yeah, at least I feel real comfortable playing with them. We play a similar style and we’re talking on and off the ice. They’re really trying to help me play well,” Rasmussen said. “I feel they want me to play good and I feel the same with them. I think we started pretty good here.”

Shaw will not receive supplementary discipline for his hit on Colorado defenseman Francois Beauchemin on Tuesday night, according to a source. Shaw was assessed a charging penalty for the hit, which caught Beauchemin high, 12:31 into the third period last night.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?


Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: