After appearing in five games for Rogle BK, Rasmus Sandin was loaned to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for this season and saw his draft stock rise because of his play in the OHL.
A well-rounded defender who hit the ground running for the Greyhounds, Sandin was firmly in their top four for the entire year as they made a push for an OHL title. They weren’t able to win that final game of the season to make the Memorial Cup Finals, but Sandin played very well in the postseason and it’s likely the main reason why he has shot up draft boards to close out the season.
You can’t always let a small sample size like the playoffs impact your assessment of player but as we will see below, Sandin was good all year long.
Landing in the 30th slot is this Swedish born defender.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.53/ March 7, 2000
- Birthplace: Uppsala Sweden
- Frame:5-foot-11/ 190 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds(OHL)
- TV-Pucken Gold Medal
- U16 SM Bronze Medal
- U17 WHC Gold Medal
- Hlinka Memorial Bronze Medal
- OHL First All-Rookie Team
Sandin has actually played for a few programs in Sweden, which is a less common route as players generally remain within the same program (or two) as they work they way to the professional ranks in Sweden. After appearing in those five games in the SHL, he was loaned to the OHL to ensure that he was given a full time role in all situations. It worked out perfectly for him as Sault St Marie made a long playoff run.
It is expected that he will return to the SHL next season but could also be loaned back to the OHL if Rogle so chooses.
He has been a leader for the Swedish national teams over the last few seasons – he was the captain of the Swedish team at Ivan Hlinka to start this season but was unable to participate in the U18 this year due to still playing for SSM in the playoffs.
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Like many prospects in this range, Sandin stands out in terms of SEAL and XLS% – which should be expected when looking at first round talent. His GFREL% is well below what is expected but the Greyhounds were a powerhouse team and the -3.5% isn’t something to worry about.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Sandin isn’t an offensive defender but does produce and that is reflected in his rolling rates. He slightly brought down his most common linemates but again, the Greyhounds were a dominant team and he still posted a +60% GF%. Not a concern here.
Here is where Sandin shines.
Of his statistical cohorts, 59.0% went onto becoming NHL regulars with an expected production of 30.4 points per 82 games played. This speaks to how effective he was as a two-way defender and how that can translate to the NHL. Aside from the high-end prospects in this draft class, you won’t find too many players with a higher success rate.
Sandin is a well rounded two-way defender who is effective in all three zones.
There was an expectation that he would take some time to adapt to the North American ice but he hit the ground running and didn’t look back. He produced immediately as a powerplay guy that can move the puck well or use his poise to control the puck with speed. As the season went on, he clearly became more confident in his abilities and was willing to carry the puck more. He can be skilled with the puck, making quick movements as he barrels down the ice with speed.
He has a complete game in the offensive zone using his puck distribution abilities, skating, and shot to create offence on the rush or while in the zone. His ability to attack when the opportunity is there is really something that stands out about his game. He shows that he is smart with his reads and when he is attacking, he knows there is something to benefit from it. As the season went on, his forays on the attack became more frequent and were exciting to see.
Combine that with his great anticipation on the attack and his ability to make a pass to a teammate in a great location – there is a lot to like about his offensive side of the game.
As for his skating – he isn’t the quickest accelerator or particularly quick in his movements but he does have strong and fluid strides that allow him to generate speed well. It provides him with a really strong base that makes it easy for him to control the puck and hard for his opponents to disrupt his lane. Despite the lack of quickness in his stride, he is good at pivoting on his feet. He is able to keep his stick active while he adjusts his lane. He does it effectively on both sides of the game and is really adept at not being out of position.
On the defensive side of the game, those ‘solid’ qualities that we talked about above translate there. He is smart and effective with all of his movements of his stick, feet, and body. He prefers to prevent zone entries before they happen but if his opponent is able to penetrate the blueline, he is able to get back and disrupt easily. The left-handed defender is calm and cool with his play in his own zone – never looking like a decision he made is rushed or what he didn’t already plan to do.
He isn’t overly physical but doesn’t get overpowered in physical battles. The Uppsala native showed in the later parts of the season the ability to carry the puck out when needed but he is also good at getting the puck out through passes. He prefers to keep possession rather than a chip out.
Through the fantastic work of Mitch Brown with The Athletic, we can get a snapshot of Sandin’s play:
We don’t know which games were tracked but they align with what the eye test shows. He prefers, and is effective, at preventing players from entering the zone with the puck. He didn’t particularly exit the zone well but that could be due to small sample size. Entries, shot generations, and scoring chance assists stand out.
Sandin is just a well-rounded defender who does everything well. His underlying numbers are really encouraging and his expected success rate is through the roof. I’d expect him to head back to the SHL and get a full-time role against professionals next season but there wouldn’t be harm in him tearing up the OHL next season.
His well-rounded game is just that good that we could hear his name called earlier than we have him slotted and that would be entirely justifiable.
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Transition defender who offers strong vision and crisp passes. A smart player who knows when to pinch and can read the play happening at both ends of the rink. Lacks elite quickness but has a knack for changing gears to create separation while on the attack.
From Future Considerations:
An all-rounded and smart defender, he also possesses some pretty slick moves, incredible patience, and elite smarts in the offensive zone. Skating, though, is not a strength and, occasionally, players can get around him along the boards. But he is an excellent backchecker and, with his hockey IQ, can anticipate the attackers’ next moves. Sometimes, he pulls himself out of position looking for a big hit or he allows too much gap to incoming forward, losing the proper angle for a check. His smart quick stick, however, is plenty disruptive. In enemy territory, he is dynamite, with slick hands and elite vision. Head up, he never hesitates on the blue line. Making calculated decisions, he is always looking to move the puck into more dangerous areas. On the blue line, he gives the opposition fits because he can deke or dish or let fly with a slapper. His shot isn’t particularly heavy, but it’s accurate with decent velocity, and he never forces it. His patience with the puck forces opponents to make poorly timed checking decisions. Confidently, he uses a head fake and his sharp edges to buy himself and his teammates more time. Frequently, he joins the rush, giving his team odd-man rushes. He’s also able to go coast-to-coast to create a scoring chance. There is a lot to like about the game of this mobile defender.