New Red Wing Jacob de la Rose eager for fresh start with new team

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Playing for the Red Wings is a positive in many ways for Jacob de la Rose, but there’s one that will be particularly special.

There’s actually multiple Swedes with whom de la Rose can mingle.

Forward Jacob de la Rose (25) likely will make his Red Wings debut Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets.

That history of star Swedes playing in Detroit is one reason why de la Rose is a fan of the Red Wings.

“This is the first time I’ll have a Swede, a couple Swedes, on the team in the NHL, so that’ll be a lot of fun,” said de la Rose, who practiced for the first time Thursday, and will be in the lineup Friday against Winnipeg. “Obviously with the history of all the Swedes that have been here, I grew up watching a lot of Red Wings games.

“It’s kind of cool, and a part I was excited about, to be able to play for a team I grew up watching a lot.”

The Wings claimed de la Rose off waivers last week after Montreal couldn’t find room to keep him on its roster.

The former 2013 second-round pick has yet to play this season, after having a cardiac issue during the preseason.

He was cleared recently to begin hockey activity, but his arrival in Detroit was hampered by immigration issues.

“I feel like I’ve been given a second chance here,” said de la Rose, who had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 55 games last season. “I’m excited to get going and get another chance to prove I should be in this league, and hopefully get a good opportunity here.”

Known as a reliable two-way forward who can play either wing or center — and is stronger defensively than offensively — de la Rose is also an effective penalty killer, and at only 23 years of age, was a player the Wings couldn’t pass up.

“We don’t have a lot of centers, so it gives us a chance to add another center to the organization for free,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It gives us a little more depth at that spot.

“I would also say, sometimes young players that were higher (draft) picks, it takes a couple organizations for a multitude of reasons (to break out). We’re hoping on his second organization here, he can start to flourish. We’ll see.”

Blashill saw de la Rose play for Sweden while Blashill was coaching Team USA during May’s world championships.

“I watched him play with (Nashville’s Viktor) Arvidsson on one side and (Nashville’s Filip) Forsberg on the other, and that says he can play with other good players but be a real responsible player for them,” Blashill said. “It’s going to be interesting, and good to watch. I wouldn’t expect he’s going to get a lot of ice (time Friday), he hasn’t skated in a few days just because of the immigration stuff, but we’ll ease him into it for sure.

“He’s a real good penalty killer and as a responsible center, can move up and down the lineup as needed.”

The heart issue de la Rose had in late September has been dealt with, he said.

“It’s nothing I had before,” de la Rose said. “Obviously it was scary, but I’ve had all the tests you could probably do on the heart and it’s all good now. They wouldn’t have let me out if it wasn’t good, so it’s good to go and I’m excited to be here.”

Having played with Gustav Nyquist at the world championships, with Christoffer Ehn at the world junior championships, and receiving a welcoming call from defenseman Niklas Kronwall last week when the Wings claimed him, de la Rose already feels familiar with his new teammates.

“Kronwall was the first guy, he called me right away and it was real nice of him, then some of the other guys texted me, so that was nice,” de la Rose said. “Honestly, the first 23 hours (on waivers), I wasn’t really thinking about it, there’s nothing you can do, nothing you can control.

“The last hour, or 30 minutes, I was a bit nervous, wondering if there was anyone who wanted me or what team it would be.

“I was super excited when I heard it was Detroit.”

Ehn to Grand Rapids

The arrival of de la Rose actually meant there would be one less Swede for him to be teammates with — the Wings sent Ehn down to Grand Rapids in a corresponding personnel move.

Ehn, 22, had one assist in nine games, after surprisingly making the Wings’ opening-night roster out of the preseason.

Blashill is hoping Ehn develops an offensive game in the minors.

“I believe there’s more offense there, I believe there’s probably more than he does,” Blashill said. “By going down and having the chance, it’s similar to (former Wing) Tomas Nosek, who built his offensive game down there (in Grand Rapids) and by last year he could provide offense up and down the lineup when needed for Vegas.

“We know Ehn’s a good player. He can play in this league. He’s a real good defensive player. It’s a hard league to develop in, but can he develop offense down there.”

Ice chips

Michael Rasmussen will be healthy scratch Friday, with Martin Frk rejoining the lineup.

Rasmussen, 19, will have time in the next week to work in the weight room, and time with coaches to fine-tune his game.

“We have a week here, let’s pound away at this guy off the ice, just part of the overall development plan,” Blashill said. “It’s hard to add a lot of strength and power in the Western Hockey League (junior hockey), that’s what I’ve seen over the years. (This is an opportunity) to gain the strength and power to be the big man he can be.

“It also gives me a chance to show him a couple of (video) clips where he needs to be better and sometimes it takes a sit (healthy scratch) to really learn some of these lessons. We’ll sit him and he’ll go back in here at some point.”

… Defenseman Mike Green (viral infection) will make his regular season debut Friday. Green was infected during training camp and didn’t play the entire preseason.

… Blashill pushed back the return of defenseman Danny DeKeyser (hand) to Tuesday in Columbus, rather than anytime this weekend.

Jets at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM

Outlook:  The Jets (6-3-1, 12 points) are generally considered a favorite to contend for the Stanley Cup. …They have a genuine Michigan flavor, with LW Kyle Connor (Shelby Township/Michigan),  C Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor/Michigan), G Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce Township) and D Jacob Trouba (Rochester/Michigan) all playing prominent roles.

Twitter: @tkulfan