#AfterAuston: Rasmus Asplund

One of the top prospects coming out of Sweden this year, Rasmus Asplund is a significant contender for a pick by the Leafs once they’ve nabbed Matthews. Asplund is a centerman for Farjestad in the SHL. He will certainly be someone the Leafs take a look at for their late 1st and early 2nd round picks.

QUALITATIVE

Take a look at the highlight pack below from Asplund’s time in the SHL:

Although highlight packs aren’t solid analysis tools, even for qualitative analysis, it’s fun to see and gives you an idea of the type of player Asplund is.

We can gather from this pack that he possesses elite puck handling skills in front of the net, for both shots and passes. He also displays a good drive to the home plate for scoring chances. 

Asplund measures in at only 5’10”, and weighs in at 176 lbs. Certainly on the smaller end of the scale, but certainly not too small to be impactful. Some scouting reports label him as a two-way center, though I haven’t seen much of this in my limited viewings of SHL games. It’s probably safe to say I caught him on a couple bad days, but it’s entirely possible that he’s not quite as defensively capable as he’s touted to be.

Here’s the quote from The Draft Analyst’s profile on him:

An excellent two-way center who didn’t take long to earn a full-time job in Sweden’s top league. … Asplund is quick and shifty, using his speed and turning ability to gain time and space. He has a good touch around the net, positioning his stick in the right place and takes a beating to complete a play. His SHL numbers might not show it, but he’s a very good scorer with a quick, accurate shot. Asplund is strong on the puck and can make plays across the ice or diagonally while traveling at a high rate of speed. His work ethic off the ice is excellent, and it shows — he’s a tenacious forechecker and competes every shift from start to finish. Asplund is far from physical, but his excellent work in the faceoff circle coupled with his smarts makes him a perfect fit for the NHL’s puck-possession game.

And one from Corey Pronman’s rankings (ESPN Insider required):

Although Asplund didn’t translate his strong international play to great success
in the SHL this season, he’s still a pretty desirable prospect. There are split
opinions on him within the industry, with some scouts seeing an NHL tweener
and others seeing a player with a very good chance to become a top­-six center.
Asplund’s best trait is his hockey sense. He’s a creative, aware, two-­way forward
who creates with his hands and vision, on top of being positionally sound.
Asplund is also an above­-average skater with great agility on his edges and a
good first step. His 5-­foot­-11 frame works against him, and his strength needs to
go a long way before he’s NHL-­ready, but he shows the capability to be a solid
defensive center, despite his size. 

The general consensus seems to be that he’s a good two-way center with good vision, instincts in front of the net, and good puck handling in the offensive zone.

QUANTITATIVE

Here’s how Asplund has ranked across different scouting sites/personnel:

Site/Personnel Damien Cox Hockeyprospect.com Corey Pronman McKeen’s Future Considerations The Draft Analyst NHL CSS Intl.
Asplund’s Rank 26 21 25 22 25 25 4

Asplund ends up near the top of the International rankings from NHL CSS (as unreliable as they may be) which is impressive, but after the top 3, the majority of talent for this draft is coming from North America. On average, he finished around 25th overall, which may put him outside of the Leafs’ reach.

Asplund didn’t exactly light the league up in terms of scoring, but as an 18 year old in a man’s league, he performed admirably. Looking back to our own Shawn Reis“Which Swedes fit the 51% rule?”, we can see Asplund still fits this rule (just barely). The basic idea of that post is that even a very moderate level of scoring in the SHL as an 18-year-old is a pretty good indicator of success. With the longest sample size of the bunch, it’s possible that Asplund is least likely of that bunch to achieve NHL success.

As such, I’m a little hesitant to be excited about Asplund. Despite his solid efforts on the ice, his size and lack of scoring in combination are concerning.

SHOULD THE LEAFS BE INTERESTED?

I don’t think Asplund is deserving of his 25th overall ranking, but he may be an interesting pick at 30/31. However, if Asplund is the highest pedigree prospect that’s available at those picks, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Leafs trade down or pass him up for more of a “reach” like Adam Fox, Jonathan Dahlen, or others.

  • for a ‘stats nerd’ you certainly missed the boat on Asplund. You should have started by asking why he was in the SHL as a 16 year-old, and why he is ranked as the #1 Swede by CSS European skaters. He owned the face-off circle at the U18 as a 16-year old, centered Sweden’s #1 line at the WJC [he and timashov were better than anything canada could ice, let alone no points gauthier], and played on a ‘tweeny’ line this year [not warm the bench]. the quote says he’s 5’11 [like 90% of mesomorphs [men with athletic, muscular build]], so why did you say 5’10/’small’?
    In any case, this whole ‘after’ series is pathetic. If you guys had said ‘after laine or matthews’, I would have some respect for you, but my dismissal of you guys has been justified;.. you waste your time writing articles [I never read any of them] on players like asplund who will be long gone by 30/31st, or who Toronto needs like it needs a hole in the head [small-soft, redundant]. No need to take risks at 30/31st, take players with high floor, = decent size, skating, 2-way play, and something that stands out, = Mascherin best shot and shot generation, most 1st points, Dineen highest IQ, most points, gets shots through;.. 70th
    Somppi 75% faceoff at U18 [vs mcleod 50%], 91st Borkqvist most points, willing and able to grind.

  • FlareKnight

    Seems like a decent option for those 30/31 picks if he’s still available.

    If nothing else we have a good grasp on Sweden so if we decide to use a pick on this guy I can trust it is the absolute right move.