A handful of Surrey hockey players have made National Hockey League opening-night rosters – one for the first time.
Michael Rasmussen, a Semiahmoo Minor Hockey product, and Cloverdale goaltender Laurent Brossoit, will be penciled onto lineup cards of the Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets, respectively, when the regular season begins this week, joining other full-time NHLers with local ties, including Surrey’s Jujhar Khaira, an Edmonton Oilers forward, and San Jose Sharks defenceman Brenden Dillon, also a Surrey native.
As well, White Rock’s Jason Garrison – a longtime NHLer who spent most of last season in the American Hockey League – is back in the big leagues after signing a one-year contract with Edmonton earlier this week. He had been in Oilers camp on a tryout basis prior to signing.
As for other Lower Mainland players, Langley’s Dennis Cholowski – a rookie defenceman – will join Rasmussen on the Red Wings roster, while Delta native Tristan Jarry is also technically on the NHL roster of the Pittsburgh Penguins, though he will start the season on injured reserve. Another Langley native, Danton Heinen – a former member of the Surrey Eagles – is also preparing for his second NHL season as a member of the Boston Bruins.
Another former Eagle, Ontario native Brandon Tanev, will also suit up this week for the Winnipeg Jets.
Four NHL games are scheduled for tonight (Wednesday), and 10 more Thursday.
Michael Rasmussen and Dennis Cholowski have been told they’re on #RedWings season-opening roster.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) September 30, 2018
Rasmussen, a six-foot-six forward, is highly regarded prospects in the Wings’ system – he was a first-round pick, ninth overall, by the team at the 2017 entry draft – and from the get-go of training camp last month was considered a strong contender for a roster spot.
In a video posted to the Red Wings’ Twitter account Tuesday, Rasmussen called making the team “A big step… I feel pretty lucky and fortunate to be here.”
Rasmussen, 19, still has junior eligibility and can be sent back to the Western Hockey League’s Tri City Americans after nine NHL games if the Wings deem him not quite ready for full-time NHL action. If he plays a 10th game, it will burn a year of his pro contract.
In making the case for both Rasmussen and fellow rookie Cholowski, Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press that “they made the argument they will make our team better.”
Unlike Rasmussen, who will be making his NHL debut, Brossoit has a handful of NHL games under his belt already. He opened last season on the Edmonton Oilers roster, as the backup to starting netminder Cam Talbot, and played 14 NHL games before being sent down to the AHL.
In the off-season, he signed with the Jets – who were in need of a backup goalie after letting former backup Michael Hutchinson leave via free agency – and he beat up prospect Eric Comrie for the No. 2 role.
In 29 career NHL appearances, Brossoit has seven wins and and .897 career save-percentage.
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