Of Red Wings-related note late this evening:
1. The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa spoke with Red Wings GM Ken Holland and director of player evaluation Jiri Fischer regarding the next generation of Red Wings defensemen. Holland envisions the Grand Rapids Griffins’ blueline forming the bedrock of the Wings’ future defense:
“We’re going to have Brian Lashoff as a captain and (Dylan) Mclrath as a veteran,” Holland said. “And then we are looking between (Libor) Sulak, (Joe) Hicketts, (Vili) Saarijarvi, (Filip) Hronek and (Dennis) Cholowski. I’m planning on one of those guys is going to be in Detroit, and the rest of those guys will be playing regularly in Grand Rapids. We are creating opportunity.”
As for the development, Jiri Fischer, the director of player evaluation, the Red Wings’ approach is evaluated continuously.
“I think things are analyzed daily, and we’re aware of what we are trying to do,” said Fischer, who directed player development until Shawn Horcoff succeeded him before last season.
“It’s hard to find elite defensemen. So, hopefully, in this development camp, here, we’ve got a few guys coming. We’re hoping our guys will develop quickly and have a great internal competition in camp, as soon as fall comes.”
Krupa continues, noting that college prospects like Kasper Kotkansalo (for one) hope to add their names to the mix…
2. And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan spoke with Michael Rasmussen regarding big Ras’ belief that he’ll make the Wings’ roster this upcoming season:
“For sure there’s definitely high expectations on myself,” said Rasmussen after Thursday’s development camp workout at Little Caesars Arena. “The highest ones come from me. I put a lot of pressure on myself — to come here, and perform and play well, and come here and help the team win and just be a good teammate. I try to stay even keel. I’m just trying to focus on myself and try to get better every day. Come in, work hard, and be a good teammate.”
It will be almost shocking if Rasmussen, a towering, 221-pound center-wing isn’t in the NHL in October.
Despite a wrist injury that required surgery, Rasmussen had 59 points (31 goals, 28 assists) in 47 games with Tri-City in the Western Hockey League. Rasmussen then exploded — dominated, really — in the playoffs, with a staggering 16 goals and 17 assists (33 points) in only 14 games.
Talking about Rasmussen late last season, coach Jeff Blashill was already musing about what a player with Rasmussen’s size and skills could do to help the Wings.
“He’s a big body who can really add a different versatility,” Blashill said. “A unique player. Guys that are his size with his skill set, are unique to this league. Come next fall, I’m hoping he’s pushing hard to make the team.”
Kulfan also continues, and I’m pretty dang certain that Rasmussen will be on the Wings’ roster come October.