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Jeff Blashill wants pair of young players to develop skills in AHL

For Detroit Red Wings fans who are wondering why the likes of Michael Rassmussen and Dennis Cholowski aren’t currently playing with the team, head coach Jeff Blashill has the answer.

The two former 1st round draft picks were on the team taxi squad to begin the season, and need to further develop their skills in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“You can’t just come in and fit in, ultimately, you have to show you’re making us better,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s not good enough to show, ‘I can kind of come in and play and help us lose.’ That’s not what we’re looking for.”

“We’re looking for our young players to grow to a level where they come in and help us win. That’s what good players do.”

Rassmussen has seen some action with Detroit this season after several players went onto the COVID-19 protocol list. However, according to Blashill, the NHL isn’t a place where you can afford to learn on the job.

“We feel like if he can become a center that can play the other team’s best and can shut the other team’s better players down,” Blashill said. “Similar to what (Carolina center) Jordan Staal does, who is a heck of a player in the league and that’s a mouthful to ask, but if he can become that kind of model, that’s a huge asset.

“He’s not there yet in the NHL, and the NHL is not a place to learn. It’s a real hard league, You’re way better off learning in the American League.”

“With those two players, any young player, at some point, they have to turn potential into reality,” Blashill continued. “That’s a big factor. At some point, you have to show what you have, because at some point you start saying, ‘What are you doing for me today? They both have to be huge impact players in the American League first before we can really expect them to help us win here.”

– – Quotes via Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News Link – –

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