November was a month of highs and lows for the entire Red Wings organization. The parent club in Detroit went 3-11-2 and their affiliate club in Grand Rapids went 4-10-0. Not very good at all. For the players themselves, Filip Zadina played a five game stint in the NHL with, well, lets just say questionable usage. For the Griffins, a large part of their struggles came due to the absence of several go-to guys. Michael Rasmussen and Matt Puempel were sidelined with injury, while Zadina, Joe Hicketts, Givani Smith, and Calvin Pickard spent time in Detroit.
Meanwhile elsewhere, some European prospects made positive strides both on and off the ice. Most notably being Antti Tuomisto, who traveled to North America for college visits. For those keeping up with his plans of playing college hockey next season, this is significant. Also making waves is Jonatan Berggren, who closed out the month on a four game point streak in the SHL.
All the latest on the Red Wings farm system from the month of November:
Tuomisto visits Denver, Minnesota Duluth
The Red Wings surprised many with the selection of Antti Tuomisto, 35th overall at the 2019 NHL Draft. The Finnish blue-liner was highly regarded by those who closely watched his draft year. Hakan Andersson, the Director of European Scouting for the Red Wings, even noted on draft day how Tyler Wright, now of Edmonton, had a “crush” of the rangy, reliable defenseman.
One of the downsides to the pick at the time, and still somewhat true to this day, however, is the uncertainty of where Tuomisto will be playing his hockey in 2020-21. Tuomisto plans to play college hockey in North America, rather than turn pro with Assat in the top Finnish pro league.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea — Tuomisto playing college hockey is a good thing. Assat remains one of the worst teams in the SM-Liiga, and a quicker transition to the smaller ice surface makes sense for a player with his abilities. But a lack of commitment meant he had to stay in junior hockey for another year. Just like on this side of the pond, signing a pro contract anywhere negates NCAA eligibility.
So Tuomisto has been playing with Assat U20 this season, in a league that simply does not pose a great challenge for him. He’s logging massive minutes in a top-pair role. The lowest amount of ice time he has played in a single game this season is 21:52. His stat-lines for November can be seen below:
Development wise, playing against inferior competition is not ideal. Tuomisto belongs in a more competitive environment. Luckily, that could be on the horizon. Towards the end of November, Tuomisto posted photos on his Instagram story of his visits to the University of Denver and the University of Minnesota Duluth. Both are high-end, Division I programs in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC).
— WingsNation (@thewingsnation) November 24, 2019
All this wait may be worth it if Tuomisto landed an offer from either one of these schools. The last three national championships have been won by either Denver or Minnesota Duluth, with Minnesota Duluth currently standing as reigning back-to-back national champions.
Hopefully we will see a commitment soon. If Tuomisto chooses one of the two aforementioned schools, his development for the next few years will be in great hands.
Michael Rasmussen’s journey over the last few years has been an interesting one. From being taken with a top ten pick in 2017, to obliterating the WHL playoffs, to struggling as a first year pro, the Vancouver, BC, native is taking a step back and developing in the AHL for the time being. The flawed NHL-CHL agreement forced Detroit management to rush him in a year, but now, they have options. Some time with the Griffins can help ease a transition back to center while he refines the other parts of his game.
The dynamic elements in Rasmussen’s game are starting to show. That is the biggest point of emphasis in his development right now — create more at even strength. From my personal viewings, he has looked more comfortable as the lead puck carrier through the neutral zone, although, he could lighten up on his grip. Plays like this still leave optimism that there is a top-6 forward somewhere in there:
Through ten games, the big man has registered two goals and nine points. Unfortunately, two separate injuries have limited his availability. There was a five game period that he missed, followed by a return for four games, and he has not played in a game since. Rasmussen’s last appearance came on Nov. 12 in a matchup with the Cleveland Monsters.
Battling two separate injuries is not good news, especially seeing as he was well on track to return to the NHL. Hopefully he’ll return sooner, rather than later.
Setkov loaned to Allsvenskan
Malte Setkov’s run in the SHL this season came to an end in early November. After going pointless in 16 games with Malmo, the Redhawks opted to loan Setkov to Kristianstads of the Allsvenskan. This isn’t the first time Setkov has been demoted by his SHL club. The same thing happened last season, however, that came much later in the year. The loan this time around comes with a reassignment for the remainder of the season.
The 6’7” behemoth of a player will be back in the top league in due time. He signed a two-year extension with Malmo back in September, so he has at least one more year to stick in their lineup.
Through seven games with Kristianstads in the month of November, Setkov has registered no goals and two assists.
- Vili Saarijarvi was dealt in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes for goaltender Eric Comrie. Drafted in 2015, Saarijarvi was unable to adjust to the speed of the AHL. However, he still owns immense talent. A change of scenery could do him well. We here at WingsNation wish him nothing but the best.
- Kirill Tyutyayev returned from a lengthy injury that kept him off the ice for the first two months of the season. After just six games he earned a promotion to the VHL and it looks like he’ll be staying.
- Jared McIsaac also made his season debut. However, the Halifax D-man only appeared in one game before heading off to Canada’s World Junior camp.
- Filip Zadina had a big month with the Griffins, which prompted his call-up. In ten games over November, the Czech sniper potted five goals and nine points.
- Elmer Soderblom played in two SHL games with Frolunda’s mens team. He played 2:06 and 9:03, respectively, but the experience is still valuable nonetheless. Some pro experience will go a long way in an inevitable loan to the Allsvenskan at some point this season or next.
All the statistics below are from games played in November. This section only includes regular season stats, so no tournament numbers are included. To keep track of each prospect’s season on a game-by-game basis, make sure to check out the Red Wings Prospect Master Schedule spreadsheet:
|ANTTI TUOMISTO||JR. A SM-LIIGA||6||3||3||6|
|JOREN VAN POTTELBERGHE||NLA||6||3.56||.900||4-2-0|