CHICAGO - Michael Rasmussen grew up a Vancouver Canucks fan but was thrilled to don the winged wheel Friday night at the United Center in Chicago.
Rasmussen said he had a great meeting with the Wings at the scouting combine in Buffalo.
The Wings took Rasmussen with the ninth pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft at the United Center in Chicago Friday night.
"I wouldn't say gut (feeling) but one of my hopes was I could go to Detroit and I ended up lucky enough for them to pick me, so my meeting went really well and it was in my mind that this is a place I really want to go to," Rasmussen said.
"It's a dream come true, definitely."
Rasmussen is listed at 6-foot-6, 221 pounds so he's already as big as Anthony Mantha, a player Rasmussen said he admires.
"I really like watching Mantha," Rasmussen said. "He's a big guy who shoots the puck well so I really enjoy watching him play."
Craig Button, TSN's director of scouting, had an impressive comparison for Rasmussen before the draft.
"Think of Tomas Holmstrom, the way Holmstrom patrolled the front of the net and was able to find loose pucks and not only screen the goalie but was able to find those loose pucks and make a pass or score a goal," Button said. "A lot of players have reach, but Michael Rasmussen also has a real awareness around the net. He can find those loose pucks around the net, he scores goals from that home plate area and he has a big presence. "If you're a goaltender and you leave a loose puck, he can find it. Those are the type of players that create a lot of problems for goaltenders. He is not going to run you over, but he establishes his size, establishes his presence. If you want to be a really good goal scorer, you have to be good in those tight areas and Michael is."
At No. 9, Rasmussen was drafted much higher than Holmstrom, who was taken in the 10th round, 257th overall, in the 1994 draft.
"If someone compares me to that player, it's pretty special," Rasmussen said. "I used to watch him growing up and I haven't really been a player that's better in front of the net or better with his stick or better at not getting moved so that's an awesome comparison for sure."
Holmstrom finished his career with 243 goals, 122 of them on the power play.
Rasmussen had 32 goals and 23 assists in 50 games with the WHL's Tri-City Americans, 15 of those goals coming on the power play.
"This year Tri-City had a really good power play, guys played well," Rasmussen said. "I practiced a lot, my hands in tight, my hands in front of the net so I think that kind of contributes to it."
Rasmussen's season was cut short when he had to undergo surgery on a broken wrist in March but he said he's doing well now.
"Getting there," Rasmussen said. "It doesn't really restrict any of my training so I'm pretty lucky in that way. But obviously it was tough I got a cast on most of the time."
The Red Line Report said of Rasmussen: "Gi-normous! Most physically gifted player in the draft.
"In terms of raw talent, this humongous specimen is as good as anyone from out of the WHL in years, but he doesn't always dominate like he should. Has top five overall physical tools, but some nights the effort doesn't look like top five. Tremendous combination of power and skill. Very mobile skater for his size and does a great job of puck protection using his ultra-long reach. A force to be reckoned with below the circles - tough to move off the puck and does a great job of making space for himself. Huge and naturally strong; comes away with the puck nearly every time in board battles. Nearly half his goals came from standing in front on the PP, and we're concerned that we didn't see as much passing/playmaking ability as we expected. Needs to be better in 5-on-5 play and his work habits away from the puck. "
Rasmussen said he would attend the Wings' development camp in Traverse City next month.
He said he visited Detroit many years ago for a tournament but doesn't remember too much about it but is looking forward to being a part of the resurgence of the city and the team.
"A city like Detroit, it's amazing, their fans and the organization so I think it's definitely trending upwards," Rasmussen said.
"It's icing on the cake. It's a historic franchise that's full of amazing players and amazing history. I couldn't ask for much better."