Photo Credit: © Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs recall Sandin, we rejoice

Nothing like letting in eight goals in a game to remind you that your defense could use a little upgrade. Thankfully the Leafs have a couple of pretty good internal upgrade options kicking around the AHL and one of them was recalled today…

Thank goodness.

Now there are plenty of good reasons to recall Rasmus Sandin, most of them being based on the fact that he’s very good, but it seems that being the top defenseman at the World Juniors tournament was a nice exclamation point on the need to see him with the Leafs again.

It should be worth noting that the Leafs still have three games of Sandin remaining before the first year of his entry level deal would kick in, so this is a bit of a try before you buy situation, and it’s also the first look at Sandin on the Sheldon Keefe Leafs.

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Here’s how the first six games under Babcock went…

Game # Home/Away? Result GF GA CF CA CF% CF Rel xGF xGA xGF% xGF Rel TOI Partner
1 Home Win 1 0 13 6 68.42 11.46 0.48 0.02 96.46 40.13 8:58 Marincin
2 Away Win 0 0 8 12 40 (12.46) 0.36 0.67 35.29 (7.77) 12:39 Holl
3 Home SOL 0 0 12 10 54.55 14.55 0.55 0.38 59.01 27.08 10:01 Marincin
4 Home Loss 0 0 12 12 50 (16.67) 0.34 0.61 35.46 (41.29) 13:39 Holl
5 Home Loss 0 0 13 9 59.09 7.81 0.28 0.34 45.38 3.59 13:51 Holl
6 Away Win 1 2 19 8 70.37 8.83 0.7 0.59 54.02 (12.78) 12:18 Holl
Stats via NaturalStattrick.com
CF% 57.46
xGF% 52.45
GF% 50
CF/60 64.71
CA/60 47.9
xGF/60 2.48
xGA/60 2.25

So in a very sheltered existence he did quite well even though the team around him was falling apart.

It’s too early to say who will be Sandin’s defensive partner or even when he’ll get into the lineup, but generally he was faring better with Marincin than Holl, though a lot has changed since that early October audition.

As for when he’ll be in the lineup, well, New Jersey is a pretty good team to experiment against, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him Tuesday night.

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The recall of Rasmus Sandin seems to be a good first step to removing the stink from the loss to the Panthers. Now it’s just a matter of addressing the goaltending issues.