Toronto Maple Leafs Roundtable: Most Surprising Off-Season Roster Addition

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 5: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie #94 returns to the dressing room after the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Scotiabank Arena on October 5, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 5: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie #94 returns to the dressing room after the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Scotiabank Arena on October 5, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 10: Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at the Scotiabank Arena on October 10, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 10: Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at the Scotiabank Arena on October 10, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Philip van Riesen

The Toronto Maple Leafs roster changed substantially over the offseason, with eight new faces to the roster. Most of the new additions to the team have gone as I expected, although there are two new faces that scream out to me as considerable surprises, both being on the positive side of things.

These new faces that have surprised me are Ilya Mikheyev otherwise known as“Souperman” and Rasmus Sandin also known as “Sandman”.

Ilya Mikheyev coming as a 25-year-old free agent from Europe was a wildcard with the fact that we had no idea of what to expect with him.

Personally I did not have any sort of hopes for Mikheyev given all of the other European free agents the Toronto Maple Leafs have brought over have not been anything but fourth-liners or bottom pair players.

But Mickheyev has greatly surpassed my expectations, with the relentless forechecking he brings, he is constantly able to strip puck carriers and take away passing lanes.

Mikheyev is a smart positional hockey player at both ends of the ice, similar to Hyman in a way, but he has some sweet hands to come with that. Mikheyev seems like a fantastic addition to the team and far more than capable of being an extremely valuable player to have on a third line, I could even see him replacing Kapanen on the top line or line 1a/1b to fulfill the left-wing role until Hyman returns.

For the 19-year-old Swedish defencemen Rasmus Sandin, he has been very successful in the role he has been given, and as a result, his minutes have been slowly climbing.

If there were no number on Sandin’s jersey, many would expect him to be a 10-year veteran in the NHL with the way he plays, it is phenomenal how poised he is at such a young age. Sandin has continuously been able to make smart decisions with and without the puck on his stick, he has been able to keep up to pace with the NHL being able to come out of the corners with the puck on his stick.

Before training camp began I was not even expecting Sandin to make the NHL roster, but he has made the roster and looked great doing so, it is safe to say he has been a real positive addition to the team.