Photo Credit: © Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Red Wings assign Michael Rasmussen to Griffins for conditioning stint

UPDATE: According to the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, Michael Rasmussen will play three games for the Grand Rapids Griffins and return to the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 9 against Buffalo.

The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday assigned forward Michael Rasmussen to the Grand Rapids Griffins for a conditioning stint.

Rasmussen, the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft, has been sidelined since Jan. 4 with a hamstring injury.

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The 19-year-old has six goals and seven assists in 41 games for the Red Wings.

Exploring the Option of Trading Michael Rasmussen

Rasmussen is tied for second on the Red Wings with three power-play goals and also tied for sixth among NHL rookies.

The Griffins (25-14-3-4), first place in the Central Division, travel to Texas on Thursday and San Antonio on Friday.

The release did not specify how long Rasmussen would play with Grand Rapids, but if I had to guess, I’d say he plays both road games for the Griffins before returning to the Red Wings to play Feb. 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights. There is the possibility he comes back for the Ottawa game Saturday, but that might be pushing it with three games in three days.

Rasmussen has shown flashes of brilliance but hasn’t been able to put together long stretches of offensive production. He’s one of the worst Red Wings in 5-on-5 shot attempts percentage (44.89) and middle of the pack for goals for percentage (46.88), according to Corsica.

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Of course, he’s also 19 years old on a team that struggles defensively, so there’s no reason to panic.

Chart by Bill Comeau

As you can see in the above chart from Bill Comeau, Rasmussen ranks in the bottom half of the league in a number of stats, with positives in assists, shots against and expected goals against.

Coach Jeff Blashill has deployed him a lot in defensive situations, so that explains part of the poor possession numbers.