Five of Last Six First Rounders To Start Season In AHL
The hottest hockey ticket in Michigan this season, at least from the point of view of fans of the Detroit Red Wings, might be ducats for the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Red Wings made further roster moves on Sunday. Among those assigned to Grand Rapids were center Michael Rasmussen and defenseman Moritz Seider.
This means that five of the last six Red Wings first-round draft picks will be playing for the team’s top farm club. Seider was selected sixth overall in the 2019 NHL entry draft. Rasmussen went ninth overall in 2017.
Saturday, right wing Filip Zadina (6-2018), center Joe Veleno (30-2018) and right-winger Evgeny Svechnikov (19-2015) were all shipped to the Griffins. Among Detroit’s first-round picks from the past six years, only defenseman Dennis Cholowski (20-2016) remains with the big club.
The Wings were presented with several options regarding Seider. He could’ve been sent back to play with his German club, Adler Mannheim. Had they opted to send him to play with Owen Sound of the OHL, Seider would’ve been inaccessible for recall until the end of his junior season.
By choosing the Grand Rapids option, he’s available for recall at any point in the campaign.
“At 18 years old he’s really big and strong,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said of Seider. “His skating is good. He’s got a lot of the physical attributes already. He’s advanced as a young player.
Playing with men (in the top German League), probably the one thing with that is he had to learn how to manage his game. He knew if he didn’t play good defensively he was going to be out of the lineup. He wasn’t there to add offense. I think that helped.
“If anything, he’s pushed it offensively here, which I’m good with that. I want him to be an all-around player that way. If anything, that helps him in his sense of learning how to earn that trust and learn how to manage his game.
He’s got a lot of good attributes. He’s gonna be a really good player. He’s good on the penalty kill, he’s good with his stick. He’s good in all those areas. It’s a lot to learn as defenseman, so you just keep letting him take it game by game.”
Blashill made it clear early in the preseason that Rasmussen was destined to play center, either with the Wings or GR. He toiled on the wing during his rookie NHL season with the Wings, producing 8-10-18 numbers in 62 games. But in his last 20 games he collected 1-2-3 totals.
“I’d like to see him – (GM) Steve (Yzerman) would like to see him – long-term at center,” Blashill said. “I think playing him at center – if you looked at Ras’ long-term outlook, he’s a 6-5 center – those guys can be really, really hard to play against because they’re so good defensively, so if he’s a guy who can really shut down other teams’ best players, that’s a real positive.
“I think his ability to score net front is a real positive. He’s got to score, but ultimately, he was going to have to beat out (Dylan) Larkin, Fil (Valtteri Filppula), (Frans) Nielsen, Glenny (Luke Glendening), Ehner (Christoffer Ehn), (Jacob) de la Rose.”
Also assigned to Grand Rapids was goaltender Filip Larsson. Goalie Calvin Pickard, defensemen Joe Hicketts, Brian Lashoff and Dylan McIlrath, and forwards Matt Puempel, Turner Elson and Dominic Turgeon were sent there as well after clearing NHL waivers.
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