MLive’s Ansar Khan spoke with Red Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff regarding the progress made by Michael Rasmussen and Dennis Cholowski this season, in which Rasmussen captained the WHL’s Tri-City Americans and Cholowski played for the Prince George Cougars and Portland Winterhawks:
“These guys are focused,” Horcoff said. “They want to make that jump to the NHL soon, and are willing to do anything it takes to speed up that process.”
The 6-foot-6, 221-pound Rasmussen will get a good opportunity to make the roster next season as a 19-year-old. The Red Wings plan to use him at left wing in the spot vacated by the traded Tomas Tatar and eventually groom him to be a center, like they have with Larkin.
Rasmussen missed six weeks due to mid-season wrist surgery but led Tri-City in points per game (1.26) and power-play goals (17). He had 31 goals and 59 points in 47 games.
Taken ninth overall in 2017, he is the Red Wings’ highest selection since 1990. The organization covets his size and hands, which contribute to his scoring instincts around the net, and is looking for him to increase his strength and quickness.
“We got to be able to get his first couple strides quicker, so when he tries to pull away from a checker he’s going to be able to separate a little more, which will allow him to buy more time,” Horcoff said. “He took another step forward this year. There were times in junior hockey that he looked like he didn’t belong. He’s a guy we expect to come to camp and vie for a spot.”