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Rasmus Andersson will make his 2017-18 debut this evening


Welcome back to the NHL, Rasmus Andersson.

The Flames will be dressing one of their top defensive prospects tonight as they host the Detroit Red Wings at the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 p.m., TV: SNF, Radio: Sportsnet 960 The FAN), as Andersson draws in for Matt Bartkowski. Travis Hamonic remains on the injured reserve, out with a lower-body injury.

It will be Andersson's season debut, and the second NHL game of his career - the first coming in Game 82 of last year, in San Jose.

"I think it's more on the line," Andersson said following the team's morning skate - after getting over the initial shock of a bunch of reporters suddenly surrounding him. "So this feels like it's more of my really first game. Obviously it's on home ice too, so I'm really excited about that."

Andersson is slated to play alongside Brett Kulak this evening, who he has played with during their days with the Stockton Heat. Knowing Kulak's style and tendencies will likely make adjusting to the NHL a bit easier for the 21-year-old.

"It's a lot of confidence with the puck, make plays, and play hard in my d-zone and yeah, just be confident out there, and play simple when I have to and make plays when I have to."

Video: Andersson talks about drawing into lineup

Kulak, for his part, is looking forward to reuniting with Andersson.

"Yeah, I think it's cool," he said. "I remember even in training camp, we finished the season strong down in Stockton last year together, in training camp we talked about how cool it would be if we could play together this year at some point with this team, and now it's happening tonight.

"I know what kind of player he is, and he knows what kind of player I am. And we can kinda work to each other's strengths like that. I know when I give him the puck he's always good about getting into a spot where he can get it and then he's very good at making plays, he's a very poised defenceman, so yeah, I'm looking forward to playing with him again."

It's no surprise Andersson's game revolves around making plays. Billed as an offensive defenceman, he had back-to-back 60-point seasons when playing for the Barrie Colts in the OHL.

Before being called up, Andersson scored one goal and registered seven assists for eight points over 10 games with the Heat. Last season, his first as a professional, he had 22 points in 54 AHL games.

Coach Glen Gulutzan is looking forward to what Andersson can bring to his group for tonight's game.

"He's going to have to move the puck and be clean," he said. "And be able to defend, speed. But his greatest asset is his mind, in my opinion - and his stick play. He's a guy that moves a puck, and you can play fast when you move a puck to the right spots. So that's going to have to be, certainly, his best quality of the night."

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