Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs: Rasmus Sandin Returns

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. 

Game 1

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.

Game 2

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.

Going Forward

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

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featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Future of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Yesterday afternoon, I attended an AHL game between the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate) and the Belleville Senators (Ottawa Senators AHL affiliate). 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a ton of goals on the board. The game ended up going to overtime with a score of 0-0. Toronto Marlies forward, Adam Brooks broke the tie in overtime with a game winning goal. 

Even though there wasn’t a ton of offensive success for either team, it was a pretty one-sided game. The Toronto Marlies out-shot Belleville by a huge 36 – 10 margin. In addition, the Marlies were quite physical, which hopefully the Marlies will bring to the NHL level when they are called up.

Overall, there were four players from the Marlies that stood out for me.

Andreas Borgman (D): Showcases a big physical presence. Borgman works well along the boards and in the corners, but what impressed me the most was his ability to use his size to box players out in front of his own net. I believe Borgman should already be playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. His size and physical Play are what the Maple Leafs seem to be lacking.

Carl Grundstrom (LW): One thing that I knew the Toronto Maple Leafs would miss once James Van Riemsdyk (JVR) left was going to be a left Winger who could be physical along the boards and put up points. I don’t think Grundstrom will reach the point totals that JVR was able to reach. However, I do see him as a solid third line winger who could score 15-20 goals per season. So far this season with the Marlies, he has 18 points in 22 games played.

Trevor Moore (LW): Moore is 5’10” winger from Thousand Oaks, California. The first thing that you notice about Moore is that he is under-sized, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be an exceptional forward. Even though Trevor lacks in size, he more than makes up for with his grit and determination. He reminds me a lot of Zach Hyman. I believe that with another full season in the AHL, he could be a full time NHL player with the Maple Leafs next season.

Rasmus Sandin (D): When you watch Sandin up close, there is one thing that stands out right away – his skating. He is a very smooth skater and has both the speed and vision to get the puck out of his zone quickly.  Being that he is still just 18 years old, Rasmus is going to need at least another full season in the AHL next year as his body continues to grow and he fills out a bit more. I could see him as a potential top four defenseman on the Maple Leafs blue-line two or three years from now.

Thank you all for reading,

Jeremy Ridgewell

in-post and featured image photo credit – Jeremy Ridgewell