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Photo Credit: Terry Wilson, OHL Images

With the 25th Overall Pick, the Leafs select… Rasmus Sandin?

Who is Rasmus Sandin?

With the first name of the projected top pick and the surname nearly the same as the greatest Leaf in history, Rasmus Sandin was always destined to be a star. A Swedish defenceman who spent this past year as one of the key pieces of the OHL’s Sault. Ste Marie Greyhounds, Sandin saw his stock rise this past season as his game translated well to the North American ice. While not in the upper tier, Sandin looks to be one of the better offensive defencemen available in the 2018 draft.

Where is Sandin Ranked?

In some cases, a steal, in others, a slight reach. Either way, it seems likely Sandin will end up being picked in the latter half of the first round, and could be on the board when the Leafs have their name called.

What do the numbers say about Sandin?

 

What are scouts saying about Sandin?

Sandin is a gifted two-way defenseman…a skilled puckhandler who has the confidence to attempt long stretch passes up the middle of the ice or to skate it himself…his hands are an asset in corralling the puck off a hard pass or making a slick deke…although a decent skater with adequate speed, his edgework isn’t as crisp as it could be and it affects him when moving laterally or changing directions…lowering his center of gravity and using longer leg pushes in each stride could also increase his speed…he isn’t afraid to carry the puck through the neutral zone himself, and is shifty and creative with the puck on his stick…strong at fending off forecheckers in his own zone, as he can outwait physical contact and absorb a hit before skating the puck out of trouble or dishing it to a teammate…he has very good defensive awareness, particularly when switching checks or choosing when to pressure opponents below the goal line…not afraid to play the body to close off an opponent along the boards…has some impressive potential as a puck-mover who can also be effective in his own zone. – Future Considerations

Sandin is a nimble puck-moving defenseman with outstanding agility and closing speed. He is a reliable option for breakouts since he can beat back a forecheck with either his wheels or crisp, timely passes. It wasn’t easy playing as a rookie import on a loaded team, but Sandin’s transition from Rogle in the Swedish Hockey League to the Ontario Hockey League was beyond seamless. In fact, the young rearguard did not take long to distinguish himself among the Soo’s talent-heavy blue line, and by season’s end was playing big minutes and quarterbacking the top power-play unit.

You can make a strong case that he is one of the draft’s best one-on-one defenders, and his quick feet help stay stride for stride with onrushing attackers. Sandin also is reliable in slot coverage and rarely is guilty of puck-gazing his partner into a precarious situation. He could very well become one of the best players to come out of this draft. – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst 

He’s fantastic with the puck in his own end and rarely seems to make a mental mistake with the puck. Always makes that safe play and starts the breakout with a stretch pass as well as anyone in this draft (including Bouchard). His hockey sense is just terrific. Has a good, low point shot and is very good at picking his spots to jump up into the rush.

But I like his positioning and ability to stay ahead of attackers on the rush. He uses his body and strong lower half to box out forecheckers extremely well and as such, he prevents teams from gaining and extending possession in the Hounds zone. For me the only real drawback is a lack of dynamic skating ability. Sandin is far from a poor skater. He’s mobile, especially laterally. But I don’t think he possesses the elite separation that you’d like to see from a 5’11 defender who’s primary skill is puck movement.

But I see Sandin as, potentially, a very serviceable second pairing defender who can play in all situations and have a long time NHL career. – Brock Otten, OHL Prospects

 

The Eye Test

Why should the Leafs draft Sandin?

While the connection of Kyle Dubas as former Greyhounds general manager exists, I’d argue that it’d be in Dubas’ best interests to you know, not just draft guys because he used to work for their junior team. Sandin himself has a desirable enough skillset to go higher in the draft, but if he’s available, it could be a pretty solid fit. If they’re looking to shore up their blueline, having a backend top-four Rielly, Gardiner, Dermott, Liljegren, Sandin… wait, that’s five! But seriously, if the Leafs were able to take Sandin and have him in the NHL on an entry-level deal in a few years, there’s no doubt he’d be able to make an immediate impact in the lineup pretty quickly. It’s pretty clear this team could use another defender or two, and while he does shoot left, there’s no bad time to keep adding depth to your system.

MLN Draft #Content

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  • lukewarmwater

    Sorry I read the first sentence and refused to read any further as okay you are obviously young and Sundin is the greatest leaf you ever saw. But to older leaf fans he certainly isn’t the greatest leaf as one could argue several names who were the all time greatest leaf. An analogy would be suggesting Derek Jeter was the greatest Yankee as he was the best you saw. But Mantle, big Lou, Babe etc. etc, well you get my point or sadly you don’t.

    • Matmarwill

      Somewhere, Luke, i saw that Davey Keon was the best rated Leaf of all time. Wasnt Tim Horton the greatest d-man? Also, the best goalie is a toss up between Johnny Bower and Turk Broda, no?