The gang’s all here.
The Tri-City Americans were back to full strength at Monday’s practice after the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday reassigned center Michael Rasmussen to his Western Hockey League team.
“It was good to get Juuso (Välimäki) and (Kyle) Olson back last week, and hearing that Michael was coming back and rejoining us was another great thing,” Tri-City coach Mike Williamson said. “It will be good to get him back in the lineup. Razzy had a great summer, getting to go to the (NHL) draft, and getting drafted by an Original Six team with the history that Detroit has was a tremendous honor for him.”
Rasmussen, a 6-foot-6, 220 pound center from Surrey, British Columbia, signed with the Red Wings on Aug. 5, then had an extended stay through rookie camp, main camp and the entire preseason.
“It was a good experience, for sure,” Rasmussen said. “It was good to be up there competing with those guys. I learned a lot.”
I’m excited about him as a prospect. He’s big, he’s smooth, he’s got good hands, he’s got good offensive sense.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill
Williamson already has Rasmussen slotted in Tuesday’s lineup against the Seattle Thunderbirds at Toyota Center.
“I definitely missed these guys and everyone here,” Rasmussen said. “It’s good to be back. I’m excited to get back with these guys and get competing.”
Rasmussen led the Red Wings in goals scored over the preseason, with four goals in five games, and drew praise from coach Jeff Blashill last week.
“I’m excited about him as a prospect,” Blashill said in a Michigan Live interview. “He’s big, he’s smooth, he’s got good hands, he’s got good offensive sense.
“I think he skates well. People have questioned that, but I don’t see that at all. I think he covers lots of ground in a hurry. I think he needs to move his feet a little bit more at times in the D-zone, but overall I’ve been happy with his play.”
Detroit finished preseason play Saturday at Toronto, where Rasmussen scored a power-play goal in a 3-2 victory.
“He’s played real well,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland told the Toronto Sun last week. “Whether we send him back or start with him at this time, he’s done everything that we could have hoped and more.”
Rasmussen said he learned a lot and looks forward to sharing his experience with his Tri-City teammates.
“I think every day, whether it is practice or a game, you need to be competing, you need to be getting better,” he said. “You see guys who have been in the (NHL) for 10 years do that. Overall, they have a good group there and I was happy to be a part of that.”
In his exit interview with the Red Wings, Rasmussen said there was praise, and a list of things they would like to see him improve on.
“Just power in my legs and getting stronger,” he said of his homework assignment. “It is something I have to work on and I will try hard at. They like my compete, they like my game. It’s all about adding layers to your game. They told me to just keep going, that I’m going in the right direction.”
Williamson said he was encouraged by Rasmussen’s play at the pro level, and the feedback they got from the Red Wings.
“He had a very, very good training training camp, and I think they were set in their minds that they were going to send him back, that it would be best for his development,” Williamson said. “He went there, and at least made them have the conversation as to how close he was to being ready. He seemed to adapt well when the games became more regular-season like. He played in key situation with top players. The feedback we got was that they were extremely happy with everything he did and they want him to come back here, be a strong leader, be a part of a good season and get better.”