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On a potential draft target at 17 and Keith Kinkaid

May 1, 2018, 12:12 PM ET [46 Comments]
Todd Cordell
New Jersey Devils Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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Over the next couple months I'm going to use this space quite a bit to write about the draft and potential targets.

I haven't yet *completely* locked in on one name like I have in the past – I'm sure you recall a steady stream of Mathew Barzal articles leading up to the 2016 draft – but I feel comfortable saying Rasmus Sandin will be near the top of my wish list be it at 17th overall, or a few slots lower if the Devils move down in order to recoup a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

Sandin is what I would call a modern day defenseman. At 5'11, 190 pounds he's a tad undersized. Despite that, he tends to be aggressive and assertive in battles. He's much like Sami Vatanen that way.

He's a smart, steady left-handed defenseman who gets it done at both ends of the ice. He makes a good first pass and is confident rushing the puck if space is available to him. He sees the ice very well and possesses the passing ability to thread it through tight windows.

Sandin was a more efficient 5v5 producer at the OHL level than the likes of Vince Dunn, Travis Dermott, Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Ekblad, Olli Maatta, Mikhail Sergachev and Jakob Chychrun in their draft years so clearly he is competent offensively.

Defensively, Sandin is also very solid. He's almost always in good position and does a nice job of keeping gaps tight and using his stick to force opposing forwards wide. There really aren't many holes in Sandin's game.

Given his upside, and the Devils' need on defense (addressing that is a bonus, not a necessity), I think he'd make a lot of sense for them.

**

I've seen a lot of talk about selling high on Keith Kinkaid following the best stretch, and season, of his career. I definitely get the logic behind it but I don't think he'd fetch as much as many want to believe.

For one, there are always plenty of goaltending options available on the cheap. That means teams probably won't be lining up for a 28-year-old with a .912 career save percentage, which is actually a hair below average.

Further to that point, the goaltenders teams did pay up for (Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta are a couple recent examples) had much better track records. In two years with the New York Rangers, Talbot posted a .931 save percentage. Raanta posted a .924 save percentage in three seasons prior to getting his shot as a starter. Those are much better numbers, obviously.

Kinkaid has proven he's a pretty good backup. Despite his fantastic run to end the regular season, I'm skeptical he's more than that. I'm sure plenty of teams are, too.

The Devils know and like what they have in Kinkaid. I don't think they're in a hurry to move him and I'd be surprised if any offers came in that would change their mind.

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