For the second year in row, the Tri-City Americans will have to make do without forward Michael Rasmussen. But unlike last season, the team expects him back on the ice in February.
Hampered by a wrist injury — that is unrelated to last year’s wrist injury — Rasmussen was evaluated by the Detroit Red Wings team doctors after the Americans finished their Alberta road trip in mid-December. Surgery was suggested.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pounded forward was selected in the first round of June’s NHL Draft by the Red Wings, and signed with the club in August.
“It’s something that has been causing discomfort and pain all season,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said. “It was either deal with it or get it repaired. He had surgery before Christmas in Vancouver. It was the right thing to do. His career is the most important thing. Hopefully he heals quickly and is ready for the last month of the season and the playoffs.”
Rasmussen is expected to miss 4-8 weeks, according to Detroit general manager Ken Holland.
“He could have waited till the end of the season, but he was tired of playing in pain,” Holland told the Detroit Free Press on Saturday. “We decided on surgery now because on the short end, he’ll be back some time in late January; on the long end, sometime in February.
“He’s hoping to get back and find his game and help his team go on a long playoff run. Having the surgery now allows him to do that, and to go into the offseason healthy and ready for a good summer in the gym.”
Tory said he is thankful Detroit keeps an eye on their top prospects.
“To have their staff look at him is tremendous,” Tory said. “They have resources that aren’t available to us in the Tri-Cities. Hopefully when he returns he is pain free and returns to a higher level than before.”
This season, Rasmussen has 16 goals and 15 assists in 22 games.