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Johnston: Maple Leafs and Rasmus Sandin’s camp focusing on one or two-year deals

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Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Barden
2 months ago
Maple Leafs training camp continues this week, as does the fascinating negotiations between Toronto’s GM Kyle Dubas and RFA Rasmus Sandin.
The 22-year-old is on pace to miss a major portion of training camp as the Maple Leafs take this second week to prepare for the regular season. But maybe — just maybe — we’re nearing the end of the dark tunnel that is these negotiations.
“It’s believed the Leafs and agent Lewis Gross have focused recent discussions on one- and two-year extensions. The Sandin camp has sought a one-year contract above his qualifying offer (approximately $875,000) or a two-year term north of the $1.4-million AAV taken by teammate Timothy Liljegren in June.”
This is an interesting development between the Maple Leafs and Sandin’s camp. Although it seems like the contract numbers are still the same, I do find it interesting that the 22-year-old continues to ask for more than what Timothy Liljegren received.
After all, Liljegren did play more minutes in both the regular season and the playoffs. And he even had better regular season numbers at five-on-five as well.
I’m not sure how much leverage Sandin’s camp has in this situation, if any. There’s not much that he’s proved at the NHL level — both as a defenceman and a point producer. Many had him as the next in line for Morgan Rielly’s job, but the further this drags on, the further he is to that promotion.
If he ever gets there.
Even when it comes to positioning, I’m not sure the 22-year-old gets into this Toronto lineup with how they’re shaped currently. There’ll be the odd Jake Muzzin injury or sit out that’ll allow Sandin some minutes, but aside from that, there’s not much runway for him to show what he’s got.
Albeit, Liljegren does have right-handedness, which is what plenty of NHL teams value. With the Maple Leafs not having much of that, it puts Liljegren in a favourable position. However, even with that, Sandin needs to prove to the Maple Leafs that he can be a more reliable and important player than Liljegren.
A one-year bet on yourself contract is the road Sandin should go down.
His underlying numbers are almost near identical to Liljegren’s, however he is just a hair behind in CF%, GF%, xGF%, and HDCF% at five-on-five. These need to improve if he wants more money.
Timothy LiljegrenRasmus Sandin
CF%55.0954.69
GF%57.5855.07
xGF%59.5058.28
HDCF%58.9258.31
HDGF%58.4951.28
Giving Sandin a one-year deal will allow him to show to the Maple Leafs brass that he’s worth more than his counterpart. If the 22-year-old is able to return soon, he could have similar minutes to Liljegren, which in turn could show whether he’s more valuable or not.
But he’s got to sign a contract first. And that could come in a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or it drags on past the December 1st deadline.
For he and the Maple Leafs’ sake, I hope a deal gets done before the regular season begins because after that, it’ll get much tougher to find some common ground.
(Statistics via NaturalStatTrick.com & chart via Evolving-Hockey.com)
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