Red Wings prospect Michael Rasmussen spoke with the Surrey Leader’s Tom Zillich while Rasmussen participated in the World Junior Summer Showcase for Canada. Rasmussen is from Surrey, British Columbia, so Zillich duly notes that the WJSS’s was played “close to home” in nearby Kamloops:
“I grew up with a lot of these guys, playing with them in the (Hockey Canada) program, and it’s fun to get going here,” said Rasmussen, the left-shooting resident of the Morgan Creek area.
“It was exciting to get that call (to participate in the Showcase),” he added. “It’s always cool to be part of these camps and see all the guys, and have a chance to wear the logo again, it’s good.”
In Kamloops, Rasmussen was among 24 forwards on the two Team Canada rosters, adding to a personal resumé that includes his participation in the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and, with Team B.C., the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Rasmussen recently played a big role in Tri-City Americans’ playoff run in the WHL. For his efforts in early April, he was named the league’s On the Run Player of the Week.
The Semiamoo Minor Hockey alum, who went to school at Southridge and, briefly, Earl Marriott Secondary, was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round, ninth overall, of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
This fall, he’d love to play his first NHL game with the fabled Motor City team.
“I went to development camp last month there, so I’ll go to (training) camp again and do my best, and I’m going to try to make the team, that’s pretty much it,” Rasmussen said confidently. “There’s lots of opportunity there, and I have a good shot to make the team, I just have to do well and play my game. It’s all on me.”
Update: Rasmussen spoke with the Vancouver Province’s Steve Ewen about his outlook as well:
“I’m just going to do my best where ever I am,” explained Rasmussen, a centre who scored 30 goals the past two WHL seasons with the Tri-City Americans despite being plagued by injuries, including a wrist ailment last year that required surgery. “At a camp like this, I’m going to do my best. At Detroit’s camp, I’m going to do my best. I want to make the team there. I’m going to go in there, put my head down and work hard.”
At 6-foot-6 and 221 pounds, Rasmussen easily has the size to play at that top level. And, while he’s always skated well for a big man, the Okanagan Hockey Academy product looked even quicker this past week.
Rasmussen had two goals and two assists in his three games. He looked capable penalty killing. He showed well physically, highlighted by a hard check on Canucks prospect Quinn Hughes in the early going of Team Canada’s 6-5 win over the U.S. on Saturday.
Rasmussen was highly effective without being a regular on the power play, and that’s been his calling card the past couple of campaigns at least. Rasmussen had 31 goals in an injury-shortened 47 games last season with the Americans, and 17 of them came on the power play, so you can understand why Hunter didn’t feel the need to see what Rasmussen could do in those situations.
“I think I got better every day here. I got to know the guys. It was a good experience,” Rasmussen explained.
He also agreed that his skating has improved.
“It’s just from my training,” he said. “I worked hard at that. It’s something I need to get better at.”