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2018 NHL Draft Profile: Rasmus Sandin

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Sandin could pair up with Timothy Liljegren at this year’s World Juniors. Could they also pair up on the Leafs one day?

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds v Windsor Spitfires Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

This year’s draft profiles will only focus on players who are named Rasmus. You can find Rasmus Kupari’s profile here. Rasmus Dahlin may even get his own profile one day. Rasmus Sandin is a 5’11” left-shooting defenceman who is headed to the OHL Finals with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He’s Swedish, so he could even pair with Timothy Liljegren at this year’s world juniors.

Sandin formed a strong top pairing with Adam Boqvist at the Hlinka, and was used on both the power play and the penalty kill. While he’s lacks Boqvist’s star potential, he’s responsible, mobile, and a fairly good puck mover. However, he is slightly undersized, not overly physical, and he lacks the offensive ceiling of a player like Boqvist, Ty Smith, or Ryan Merkley. I don’t see him as a top 15 prospect in this class, but he was one of Sweden’s best defenders thanks to his quickness, poise with the puck, and well-rounded style.

Sandin posted 45 points in just 51 OHL games this season, and finished fourth in 5v5 points per game behind Evan Bouchard, Conor Timmins, and Nic Hague. His scoring production grades out well historically:

OHL U18 D Points Per Game Leaders Since the Doughty Draft

Player Season PPG
Player Season PPG
Ryan Ellis 08-09 1.56
Ryan Murphy 10-11 1.25
Drew Doughty 06-07 1.1
Mitchell Vande Sompel* 14-15 1.09
Ryan Merkley 17-18 1.06
Zach Bogosian 07-08 1.02
Ryan Ellis 07-08 1
Michael Del Zotto 07-08 0.98
Tony DeAngelo 12-13 0.94
Calvin de Hann 08-09 0.93
Aaron Ekblad 13-14 0.91
Michael Del Zotto 06-07 0.89
Ryan Merkley 16-17 0.89
Alex Pietrangelo 07-08 0.88
Rasmus Sandin 17-18 0.88
Alex Pietrangelo 06-07 0.88
Cam Dineen 15-16 0.87
Dougie Hamilton 10-11 0.87
Mikhail Sergachev 15-16 0.85
PK Subban 06-07 0.82

*I believe Vande Sompel spent some time at forward this season.

Stats retrieved from Elite Prospects.

A Glimpse of Sandin in Action

Sandin is a pass first player, as he averaged just 1.84 shots per game this year, which places him 30th among OHL defenders. He does not own a booming slap shot, and he typically looks to pass unless he can unload a shot from a high-danger scoring areas:

He sees the ice well and shouldn’t have a problem keeping up at the NHL level. Here, he showcases his poise with the puck, before streaking into the slot to finish off a give-and-go.

Playmaking is one of Sandin’s strengths, and he showcases his lateral quickness before firing a “royal road” (cross-ice) pass:

Once again, Sandin drives the puck deep in the offensive zone, draws a defender towards him, then fires a tape-to-tape royal road pass:

Sandin is poised with the puck on his stick, and displays plenty of patience here. He holds onto the puck while his forward gets into a scoring position, then weaves a cross-ice pass that leads to a tap-in:

Sandin showcases his ability to walk across the blueline, and once again his patience with the puck is on display. While he lacks a Chara-like slapshot, he makes up for this with his crisp passing:

He’s fairly quick, which allows him to jump up into the play occasionally. Once again, Sandin waits out the goaltender before sliding it over to his teammate for a tap-in.

Final Thoughts

Sandin seems to be a popular Leafs target on Twitter, and we are bound to hear more about him due to Kyle Dubas’ connection with the Greyhounds. His scoring production is eye-opening for an U18 defender, but its worth pointing out that the Greyhounds scored 317 goals this year, while the other 19 teams averaged 237. He almost certainly benefited from playing with forwards such as Morgan Frost, Taylor Raddysh, Barrett Hayton, and Boris Katchouk.

He was a solid all-situations defenceman at the Hlinka, but noticeably behind Adam Boqvist, Ty Smith, and Ryan Merkley. He did not exactly standout over Calen Addison, Jared McIssac, or Jett Woo either. Although he’s a talented passer, I don’t see him as a high-end power play quarterback, and he’s not tall or strong enough to be considered as a prototypical shutdown defenceman.

Sandin’s mobility and poise with the puck could allow him to squeak into the top 31 on my final draft board. However, he won’t be my top choice for the Leafs between #23-25, as I will be hoping for a player in my top 20. I’d be more willing to take a chance on him in the second round.