hael rasmussenDetroit Red Wings prospect forward Michael Rasmussen will join the numerous other NHL players and prospects getting an early start to the 2020-21 season. The Red Wings announced that the young center has been loaned to the Graz 99ers, an Austrian club in the recently re-named IceHL. No further details about the loan have been disclosed, but it is expected to come to an end when NHL training camps open up later this year.
Rasmussen, 21, needs the seasoning more than most. Drafted ninth overall in 2017, Rasmussen’s greatest assets were his pro size and strength. At 6’6″ and 220 lbs., the Red Wings didn’t hesitate to put Rasmussen directly into NHL competition in his rookie season in 2018-19. However, he struggled to adjust to the speed and skill of the top level. Rasmussen still managed to record 18 points in 62 games with Detroit, but the team was not content with his development and sent him to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins to begin this past season. Due to an injury that cost him more than two months, Rasmussen was never recalled from the minors, logging just 35 AHL games for the year.
As he awaits the start of the 2020-21 NHL campaign, Rasmussen knows that he has work to do to prove that he is worthy of winning back a regular role for the Red Wings. Both team and player hope that this assignment to Graz will help him get off to a much-needed hot start. Rasmussen should undoubtedly be the best player in the 99ers’ lineup and should be able to focus on working on the shortcomings of his game while still contributing to club’s games. A strong stint in Austria could not only help with Rasmussen’s skill and hockey sense, but could provide a confidence boost that follows him into traiing camp