Maple Leafs Spotlight: Rasmus Sandin
It’s without question the Maple Leafs defense has been bolstered over the offseason with the addition of Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci. It’s hard to see the true value in Ceci at this time; but don’t be shocked to see him score close to ten goals for the Leafs this season. He brings some deeper stats to the table that are unseen with a number of hits and shot blocks. As good as Gardiner was at skating the puck out of trouble, he won’t be missed and nor will Zaitsev. Two great moves by Dubas keeping the Leafs on track and improving without giving up too much.
In no particular order:
Here is where things get interesting. The Leafs will start the season with Dermott recovering from offseason surgery. To me, this is perfect for Babcock to get a taste of what he wants to roll out the gates. With some preseason action and a few games to prove their worth, there is surely going to be a battle for play time in the 5-6 slot.
I have no doubt Dermott will be a shoe in once he returns to the Leafs lineup. Marincin has the experience but obviously not the young upcoming talent that Babcock may be looking to get a taste of; Babs knows what Marincin brings to the table.
Holl has played in a whopping 13 games and Harpur has played just over a half seasons worth of games, so they are pretty raw in the grand scheme of things.
What I’m most interested and excited to see is the play of both Sandin and Liljegren. Both picked in the first round by the Maple Leafs and both defensemen with some offensive flare. Liljegren is older and was picked earlier in the draft than Sandin, but there is something about Sandin that sticks out to me.
This kid can play hockey.
Watching in person always brings a different perspective. I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of Sandin and Liljegren skate in the playoffs against the Checkers. The Marlies got out played most of the game but poured on a late game effort and ended up winning in overtime. It’s amazing the difference between AHL and NHL, so you can see why the players usually have such a tough time adjusting.
As the game went on, more and more I noticed this silky handed defender from the Marlies making crisp outlet passes and had a bit more flare to his game than most. As the game went on it seemed like they were playing Sandin more and more and he continued to stand out. By games end I felt without question Rasmus Sandin’s game play stood out more than any other player. It was how he presented himself on the ice, being confident, skating the puck, passing the puck and just overall composure on the ice. He looked like a vet out there.
Sandin may or may not get into the Maple Leafs lineup this season, but I assure you that kid is going to be an exciting player to watch if he continues to trend in the right direction. Keep an eye on Rasmus Sandin!
Could Dubas and Babcock have another move in store to add a cheap defenseman with some experience?
Thanks for reading, happy to be back.
Hope you had a great weekend.