Toronto Maple Leafs: The Other Rasmus

BUFFALO, NY - MAY 31: Rasmus Sandin poses for a headshot at the NHL Scouting Combine on May 31, 2018 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MAY 31: Rasmus Sandin poses for a headshot at the NHL Scouting Combine on May 31, 2018 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs have no shot at Rasmus #1.

Rasmus Dahlin is going to the Buffalo Sabres.  But there’s another Rasmus and the Toronto Maple Leafs, should they keep their pick at 25, have a reasonable shot at him.

If your name is Rasmus, the 2018 NHL Draft is your year. Everyone wants that smooth skating, left-shot defenseman from Sweden. Everyone could use a reliable, mobile defenseman that can put up points or make the safe and smart defensive play– especially the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But this isn’t Rasmus Dahlin we’re talking about here. He’s Buffalo’s of course. We’re talking about the other left-shot defenseman from Sweden, Rasmus Sandin. It turns out he’s a pretty good young player in his own right. Sandin is expected to go in the mid to late part of the first round, making him a possible choice of the Leafs.

Who’s Sandin?

Rasmus Sandin is a defenseman for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL on loan from Rogle of the SHL. At 5’11, 190lbs, he’s not huge. As a left shot, he’s not uncommon. He skates well, but isn’t a rocket. Why should the Leafs care, then? The sum of his parts is why.

He Does a Lot Very Well

Sandin scored 45 points in 51 OHL games this season, including 12 goals after coming over from Rogle. He also added 13 more points in 24 playoff games. When team mate Conor Timmins missed time, the Greyhounds needed to rely heavily on Sandin, and he didn’t disappoint. In fact, the bigger the load, the more Sandin thrives.

Sandin excellent at making stretch passes when available and short, quick passes to transition the puck up the ice when that isn’t an option. He almost always makes the right play because of his excellent hockey IQ.

In the offensive zone, Sandin tends to be more of a playmaker and differ to his team mates instead of shoot. He does shoot however, and can beat goalies in multiple ways. He usually uses a quick wrist shot before the goalie can set-up and is adept at getting pucks through to the net when it’s crowded down low.

He’s Steady

Since Sandin makes so many good decisions with the puck, he doesn’t need to have speed to burn.  He doesn’t chase opposing forwards behind the net or lose his man to chase the puck. Along the boards, Sandin became more physical throughout the year. He doesn’t throw many hits and often doesn’t have too, but he will battle. With good lower body strength and a low centre of gravity, Sandin is difficult to knock off the puck despite his size and gets the puck out of danger areas effectively.

Modern Man

I would call Sandin a very “modern” defenseman. Safe defensemen don’t need to be big bruisers that just chip the puck off the glass. Today, safe is getting the puck quickly up the ice either by skating it out yourself or with a quick pass to a forward. Safe is being able to handle the puck well enough to make a play with it. Whether you need safe and steady or offence, Sandin can bring it.

These are all areas of the game where Sandin excels.  You won’t see a lot of flash out of him, but look closely and you’ll see smart decisions and smooth passes all game long. Quiet and efficient.

Dubas’ Decision

I have no doubt that Dubas has spent plenty of time watching Sandin play. I can also understand why some may question would we would take a left-shot defenseman when the leafs are strong on the left side.

Next: Six Potential Picks for the Leafs in the Draft

Ask yourself, if you had the chance draft another player like Morgan Rielly or Travis Dermott, would you consider that a bad choice? I don’t think the Leafs do.