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Photo Credit: © Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

Franchise Hockey Manager 8 predicts the rest of Rasmus Sandin’s career

It has been quite some time since I last did a career simulation focusing on a Leaf, with the most recent one being Jack Campbell. After putting the series on hold for three months, the desire to do another one came back recently and I was eager to give this another go.

Back in February, I tweeted a poll asking people which Leaf they wanted to see next as the focus for my next career sim using Franchise Hockey Manager 8. As you can tell by the title of this post, Rasmus Sandin was the undisputed winner and he will be the subject of my latest simulation.

Sandin has impressed and made significant progress since being taken 29th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry draft. Barely halfway through his second pro-season, he got called up to the Leafs and has more or less remained a fixture with the team despite a lack of playing time in 2021. His first full season has shown lots of promise and growing pains that are typical of a 22-year-old, and now will likely be missing significant time due to a knee injury. It’s clear that he will remain an integral piece in the organization for years to come, but what lies in store for him? That’s where FHM 8 comes in.

If this is your first time reading one of these, this is my tenth post where I use a video game to get an idea as to how careers will pan out. I should preface by saying that you should not take the results of this simulation as biblical proof of what lies ahead for Sandin, but the hope is you have fun going on this long journey with me. The previous nine entries are linked below if you want to catch up or to read after this one:

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Mitch Marner career sim

William Nylander career sim

Auston Matthews career sim

Frederik Andersen career sim

What if Alexis Lafreniere was drafted by the Leafs?

2021 Playoff Predictor

John Tavares career sim

Morgan Rielly career sim

Jack Campbell career sim

Here are the rules that I will be following throughout this simulation:

  • I’m not allowed to control the Leafs at all during the sim, so I randomly selected a team before starting
  • Auto-Sign is on so I don’t affect Free-Agency
  • Injuries are left on
  • Once Campbell retires, the sim ends
  • Every five years, I’ll post his stats along with any awards he might have won
  • I’ll update you guys on anything noteworthy regarding the Leafs and who won the Stanley Cup

The Leafs’ lines to begin the season are as follows. Of note, Auston Matthews was out to begin the season due to wrist surgery.

And here is what Sandin’s stats are to begin the sim:

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The simulation

Year 1 (2021-22)

It was a solid season for the Leafs as they earned the top spot in their division and finished with the fifth-best record in the league. Sandin played all but one game and went on to produce 26 points in that span, solidifying himself as a rising star in the organization.

Toronto was able to make it out of the first round for the first time in nearly 20 years but was taken out in the second round by the Bruins in five games. With his ELC set to expire, Sandin put up a bagel in nine postseason matches. The Golden Knights would clinch their first Cup in franchise history after sweeping the Islanders in the Finals.

Year 2 (2022-23)

There were a few key trades that the Leafs made during the offseason. One deal saw them trade Alex Kerfoot for Brian Dumoulin straight up, with the other swapping Travis Dermott for Jake Gardiner. Just days before the season got underway, Sandin was given a one-year extension at $750 K.

The Leafs took a bit of a step back but still played well enough to secure second place in the Atlantic Division. Sandin split time between the Leafs and Marlies due to being the odd man out and only played 16 games and mustered up a mere five points. Toronto was matched up against the Red Wings in the first round and was eliminated in five games, none of which Sandin played. The Bruins got their revenge on the Blues to take home another Stanley Cup.

Year 3 (2023-24)

The Leafs were tight on cap space and it left Sandin without a contract, thus forcing him to play overseas for the season. There he spent the majority of the year with Morrums GoIS IK of the Hockeyettan, the third tier of Swedish hockey (talk about a fall from grace) where he recorded 19 points in 20 games played. Midway through the season, he got transferred over to the Vienna Capitals (a team in ICE Hockey League in Austria) and recorded four points in four games, while potting four assists in six playoff games. It wasn’t enough to generate a deep playoff run as the Capitals were ousted from the first round in seven games by EC VSV.

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Year 4 (2024-25)

Thankfully for Sandin, he was able to get a two-year deal from the Leafs that brought him back to Toronto after the team was cleared from cap hell. In addition, they signed Mike Hoffman, Mitchell Vande Sompel and Steven Lorentz in free agency.

The Leafs were able to secure second place in the tightly contested Atlantic and were six points shy of the division-winning Senators. Sandin played well and recorded 34 points in 81 games played, but went scoreless in the postseason. There, the Leafs got embarrassed by the Sabres who swept them out of the first round. Despite an MVP season from Matthews, the Leafs had to watch as the Coyotes took home the Stanley Cup.

Year 5 (2025-26)

Instead of making any meaningful changes to the roster, the Leafs mostly kept their roster intact aside from a trade that brought in what remains of Martin Jones.

The lack of meaningful changes to the roster resulted in a mediocre year for the Leafs which saw them miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign. Sandin himself split time between the NHL and AHL where he played 57 games with the big club and potted 25 points. While he and his teammates visited the golf course, the Oilers avenged their loss in 2006 by defeating the Hurricanes in five games to reclaim the Cup.

As we approach another contract year for Sandin, here is where things stand after five seasons:

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Year 6 (2026-27)

Despite all of the tribulation he endured over the previous five years, Sandin was able to secure himself a significant pay raise as he signed a three-year, $8.55 million contract extension.

In the offseason, the Leafs didn’t make any major additions apart from signing Alex Formenton and Tony DeAngelo (oh no).

This proved to be a mediocre season for the Leafs despite remaining within striking range of the playoffs throughout most of the year. A rough stretch to close out the year spelled doom for them and they finished eight points behind the Lightning and Blue Jackets who took up the Wild Card spots. Sandin has finally hit a groove with the Leafs in terms of playing time and though his numbers this campaign took a step back (19 points in 77 games), he looks to be part of the plan going forward.

The Ducks swept the Rangers in the Finals to bring home their second Cup in franchise history.

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Year 7 (2027-28)

It proved to be a busy offseason for the Leafs who went out to improve their overall depth. Some of the additions include Adam Boqvist, Dylan Cozens, and Emilio Pettersen.

In a shocking twist, the Leafs decided to trade Sandin to the Penguins on the opening night of the regular season in exchange for a third-round pick. Pittsburgh has a challenging season and finished dead last in their division, while Sandin improved to 23 points in 61 games.

If you were wondering, the Leafs would go on to barely win the Atlantic Divison on the last day of the regular season and proceeded to get swept out of the first round by the Canadiens. The Oilers reclaimed the Cup after taking care of the Flyers n five games.

Year 8 (2028-29)

The Penguins barely made a dent in the offseason and their only real additions were trading for Lawson Crouse and signing Liam Kirk.

Pittsburgh was one of the worst teams in the NHL this season and finished four points shy of the basement with a measly 64 points on the year. Sandin barely cracked 60 games on the season and finished with just 21 points, cementing himself as third pairing defender.

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The Sabres nearly blew a 3-1 series lead to the Ducks but recovered in Game 7 to take home their first-ever Stabley Cup.

Year 9 (2029-30)

For the second time in this simulation, Sandin was left without an NHL contract heading into the offseason and was forced to take his talents to Europe. He returned to his native Sweeden and signed with Vannas HC of the Hockeyettan.

He finished the season with ?? points in ?? games, and also came away with some hardware as well. Sandin represented his country in three separate tournaments where he won bronze in the Channel One Cup and the Karjala Cup and secured a silver medal in the Carlson Hockey Games. So while his season once again spent outside of North America, it wasn’t a complete disaster by any stretch.

Back in the NHL, the Kraken edged out the Hurricanes to win their first Cup in franchise history.

Year 10 (2030-31)

Sandin made the move to Hungary and signed with Ujpesti TE of the Erste Liga for the season as he was once again unable to get an NHL deal done.

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He posted strong numbers for his new club as he finished the year at over a point per game pace (45 points in 44 games played). He once again got to represent Sweden at the Carlson Hockey Games and improved on the previous year by capturing the gold medal. Surely the pinnacle of his career with how things have gone. Meanwhile, the Coyotes took care of business by winning their first Cup following a five-game series against the Senators.

A decade into the simulation and here is where things stand:

Year 11 (2031-32)

It’s been a tragic fall from grace for the former first-round pick who will now be playing the coming season with the HK 95 Panthers Povazska Bystrica of the Slovak 1. Liga, the second-tier league in Slovakia.

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The game hasn’t been able to track how Sandin’s new teams have done but based on the fact that none of their goalies made any of the top five in statistical categories, it’s fair to assume that they did not make the playoffs. On the plus side, he had a solid year by posting 43 points in 47 games played.

For those of you wondering, the Red Wings and Avalanche reignited their rivalry in the Finals and it was Detroit who came out on top in seven games.

Year 12 (2032-33)

Sandin seemed to take a liking to his new club as he decided to stick around for another season making a measly $80K.

His production improved this time around to over a point-per-game-pace, as he finished the year with 54 points in 49 games played. And while we once again can’t tell for sure how his team fared, they had a potent offence due to forward Jakub Hujer leading the club in goals and points (32 goals and 70 points) while Sandin was third in the league in assists.

The Sharks edged out the Capitals in seven games to finally win a Stanley Cup of their own.

Year 13 (2033-34)

Instead of staying with the Panthers for an additional year, Sandin took his talents to the MHK 32 Liptovský Mikuláš. But after seven games in which he posted three assists, he signed with Hermes Kokkolan of Mestis (Finland’s second-tier league) for the rest of the season.

Despite joining the team midway through the campaign, he finished 10th on the team in scoring with 15 points. Hermes had a mediocre season but was good enough to qualify for the playoffs by qualifying for the eighth seed. They won their preliminary round matchup but were swept out of the first round in three games by Kiekko-Vantaa, who would go on to win the championship. Sandin finally had postseason stats for the first time in eight years and all he could muster up was two assists.

Back in the NHL, the Kings took out the Red Wings in six games to bring home the Cup.

Year 14 (2034-35)

After touring around Europe playing various second-tier leagues, Sandin decided to return home and sign with Färjestad BK of the SHL to a two-year, $690K contract.

It was a tough season for Färjestad BK who did not reach double-digit wins until New Year’s Day and finished with the third-worst record in the league, being only four points clear of the basement. It was also Sandin’s worst season yet as he had a measly two points in 39 games played, signalling that his career is nearing its end. Skellefteå AIK would be awarded the Le Mat Trophy when the SHL season ended. Additionally, he appeared in eight CHL games and finished with five points in that span.

For those of you wondering, the Blackhawks defeated the Senators in six to win their first legitimate Cup since 1961.

Year 15 (2035-36)

Sandin continued his downward trend in play this season and he only played two games with Färjestad BK (recording just one goal) and spent the majority of the season with Karlskrona HK of the Hockeyettan. In 23 games played with the second-tier club, he registered three goals, 23 assists, and 26 points. His parent club had an even worse season than the year prior and posted the worst record in the league. Worse yet, they lost a seven-game series to Linköping HC and were subsequently relegated.

At season’s end, Sandin saw the writing on the wall and called it a career. With his playing days over after a promising start that came up short, here are the final numbers:

Takeaways

This might have been the strangest simulation I have ever done and it clearly did not go how I envisioned it would given that Sandin spent eight of the 15 years playing in Europe, accounting for roughly 53% of the simulation. FHM 8 seems to think that he will be nothing more than a third pairing defender, which couldn’t be further from the truth based on his real-life trajectory. It seemed crazy to me that he was playing a good chunk of those seasons overseas for second-tier teams and didn’t get a chance with top clubs untul he was in the twlight years of his career.

It was because of the strange circumstances of the leagues Sandin was playing in that made it diffuclt to track the stats of some of them as you saw from the team and playoff results. While four years of the simulation has unknown results, there’s a good chance his bad luck carried over based on the overall trajectory. It wasn’t a complete failure since he did win gold medal for his native country, but it definately could have been so much more. Who knows how differently things would have gone had he gotten a deal with the Leafs during his third season of the sim.

While I am not pleased with the final results of the sim, it was no doubt a joy to use this game and the fact that so many leagues were included made it so much easier to track Sandin’s progress in that regard. It wasn’t perfect due to the afromentioned missed data for approximately 27% of the simulation, but it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

As per usual, remember that the final results aren’t an accurate portrayal of how Sandin’s career will actually play out since it is a game that randomizies the results. I just hope you enjoyed this bizarre journey through a career that had so much potential wasted by bad luck and poor development. What I can say is let’s just hope Sandin doesn’t actually get forced to play back home in 2023-24 due to the Leafs running out of cap space!

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