Rasmussen returns to Griffins lineup after injury

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After missing two months and 23 games due to injury, Michael Rasmussen returned to the Griffins lineup this past weekend.

“It was definitely a long time, longer than I would have liked,” Griffins center and Detroit Red Wings number one draft pick Michael Rasmussen said. “It’s tough leaving a team and tough being injured, so it was defiantly tough on me, but i’m happy I’m back now with the guys.”

In just two games, the 2017 number one draft pick reminded everyone why he, too, is considered a key part to the Detroit Red Wings rebuild.

Detroit Red Wings Michael Rasmussen
Michael Rasmussen #27 of the Detroit Red Wings moves in on Cal Clutterbuck #15 of the New York Islanders during the second period at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on September 23, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

“He gets to the net, he takes up a lot of space, he got a good touch in front and he’s got a pretty good ability of tipping pucks at the net front,” Griffins head coach Ben Simon said.

The 6-foot-6, 221 pounder was ineligible to play in Grand Rapids last season, forcing the Wings to keep the then 19-year-old in Detroit for his entire rookie pro season. He posted eight goals and 18 points in 62 NHL games as a Winger, before being sent to the Griffins this season to focus on making the move to his nature position at center.

Detroit Red Wings Michael Rasmussen
Michael Rasmussen #27 of the Detroit Red Wings battles for the puck with Christopher Tanev #8 of the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at Little Caesars Arena on November 06, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“It’s been good. I’m playing with some good players. I played center most of my junior career, so it’s been good,” Rasmussen said. “(The) Guys are really helping me and it’s been a good transition.”

Simon agreed. 

“It’s tough at any level of pro hockey to play center. It’s just a little bit more skating than more of a Wings responsibility,” he said.

Detroit Red Wings Michael Rasmussen
Michael Rasmussen #27 of the Detroit Red Wings looks to make a move around Pavel Zacha #37 of the New Jersey Devils during the second period at Little Caesars Arena on November 1, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

And after averaging better than a point per game early this season with the Griffins prior to the injury, Rasmussen is now focused on completing the transition to center and winning here in Grand Rapids in hopes of moving back to Detroit with a host of other top prospects next season, and helping return the Red Wings to greatness.

Detroit Red Wings Michael Rasmussen
Michael Rasmussen #27 of the Detroit Red Wings tries to get a shot off on Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Little Caesars Arena on November 06, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“We all feel good. We’re happy here. We’re working hard here at getting better,” Rasmussen said. “And we’ve got a good core group of guys so, I feel good about it.”