It’s official. The Leafs are paying Rasmus Sandin. He’s into his rookie season, and we can safely say that he’s been anointed the new hope of the Leafs blueline. That’s all well and good. I just worry that by sending him back down to Marlies the Leafs have hurt his chances on passing Makar and Hughes in the Calder race.
Given that Sandin is here to stay, and arguments are already being made for him as 1) A permanent defenseman. 2) A top four defenseman. 3) The Leafs best defenseman. I thought lets quickly look at some of his numbers to date.
So some interesting shifts in the numbers, the incredibly small numbers, but numbers nevertheless. Under Keefe, Sandin has had more ice time and given the number of goals we’ve seen compared to what he had under Babcock, he is certainly less sheltered.
We’ve seen significant improvements in regards to expected goals as well, and Sandin still carries a positive shot attempt differential as well, despite it dipping now that the Leafs aren’t chasing games. Generally we’ve seen Sandin have favourable relative numbers compared to his teammates, although this does still largely speak to him being sheltered, even if it is less sheltering than before.
|Result||GF||GA||CF||CA||CF%||CF Rel||xGF||xGA||xGF%||xGF Rel||TOI||Partner|
Interestingly, there’s also an improvement in offensive outputs as Sandin has 1 goal and 3 primary assists under Keefe compared to 2 secondary assists under Babcock.
What does any of this mean? Well, frankly not that much, we’re still pretty new to Sandin. Not surprisingly the numbers align with the eye test and confirm there is a lot to like about this kid and that we have reason to be optimistic. There’s also a good chance that a very talented defenseman will probably be developed better under Sheldon Keefe than he would have been under Mike Babcock.