This past weekend saw the return of Toronto Maple Leafs defencive prospect Rasmus Sandin who returned from injury.
Sandin was out for six weeks with an elbow injury which he suffered in the quarter finals of the IIHF World Juniors. The Uppsala, Sweden native played in both of the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL team) games this weekend and did not look out of place.
In his first game back on Saturday against the Springfield Thunderbirds, Sandin had no points and finished the game with a +1 plus/minus rating in the Marlies 4-2 Win. He spent most of the game paired with fellow Sweden countryman Andreas Borgman and the two of them were a good shutdown pair. Sandin continues to show great work along the boards and with keeping opposing players outside of the defencive zone. Later on in the game, he was rewarded with some time on the power-play where he did a great job holding the blue-line and keeping the puck in the Thunderbirds zone. In his own zone, he showcased his ability to skate quickly and get the puck up the ice cleanly.
On Sunday, in the 4-3 loss to the Belleville Senators, Sandin finished the game with an even Plus/Minus rating and continued to showcase his skills both with and without the puck. His ability to read plays, adapt quickly and force opposing players to the outside are just three of the reasons why he has climbed the depth chart within the Maple Leafs organization since being drafted 29th overall in the 2018 NHL draft. This weekend was a good test for Sandin to get back in to game shape and for the Marlies coaching staff to evaluate where he’s at both physically and mentally.
Beginning on Wednesday, I think we’ll start to see Sandin’s ice time increase back to where it was before he left for the World Juniors. With an increase in ice-time, you can expect Sandin to be an offencive threat once again. In addition, Sandin will also start to see more time on the power-play which should help his overall point totals.
Overall, the future looks very bright for Sandin. This summer will be a big test for the young Swede as he trains to try and get himself ready for training camp. If he can dazzle the Maple Leafs coaching staff, he could potentially be on the opening night roster.
With fellow Marlies defenceman Calle Rosen joining the Maple Leafs on a one-way contract next season it’ll be that much tougher for Sandin to make the Maple Leafs roster. But, it wouldn’t be the worst thing if Sandin spent some time in the AHL next season. He’ll spend some more time developing with Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe. Plus, he’ll be playing a huge role on the top defencive pairing and could be a call up to the Maple Leafs if and when one of their defencemen get injured.
pictures taken by Jeremy Ridgewell
stats from theahl.com
featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler