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The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds were the best team in the OHL this season and a Memorial Cup Contender. While they looked like a strong club even before the season began, it was the emergence of young players like Rasmus Sandin, who solidified their top four and Barrett Hayton who gave them depth down the middle, that took them from very good to dominant. The 52nd Overall Pick in the CHL Import Draft, Sandin scored 12 goals and 33 assists for 45 points in 51 games this season. The Greyhounds now find themselves in the OHL’s Western Conference Final. Sandin scored seven points in 11 playoffs.
Sandin’s rights belong to Rogle BK in the SHL. He even played five games for the club, recording one assist, before joining the Sault. In international competition, he captained Sweden to a bronze at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. He put up three points in five games. He also captained the Under 17 team to gold at the 2016-17 U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Sandin scored two points in six games during that tournament.
Rasmus Sandin Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born March 7th, 2000 — Uppsala, Sweden
Height 5’11” — Weight 190 lbs [180 cm / 86 kg]
Sandin is a good but not great skater. His speed is slightly above average, and he keeps up with the play, but he is not a speedster by any means. He is a better backwards skater than forward (comparative to his opposition of course), which is obviously a good tool for a defender. With good cross-overs and agility, he is able to retreat quickly and keep the play in front of him. Sandin has very good lower-body strength, especially when you consider there is probably some room to add even more muscle. His balance and low centre of gravity help him to win battles for loose pucks and clear the front of the net. He is tough to knock off the puck.
Sandin is an extremely intelligent player. He is poised with the puck on his stick and makes smart plays. Sandin has great vision and the ability to thread the needle to the open man with good passing skills. He can make the long stretch pass to create a breakaway or odd-man rush when it is available. When the home-run type play is not there, he does not try to force it, instead finding a quicker, shorter pass to start the transition game. Sandin also has the vision and skills to set up plays on the power play.
He also has a good arsenal of shots, which he has a knack for getting on net. Sandin is much more likely to use a wrist shot or snapshot than he is to load up for a slap shot, even from the point. He likes to sneak down to the circles, get the puck and unload a quick shot without giving the goalie time to set up. Both his wrist and snapshot generate decent power, and he has a quick release. When there is traffic, he keeps his shots low giving his teammates the opportunity for tip-ins and rebounds. Sandin always seems to be in the right place. He does a very good job of finding open ice and picks good spots to pinch in from the point.
Sandin’s strong positioning and understanding of the game extends to the defensive zone as well. He is a physical player, willing to throw hits on the rush, battle in the corners, and clear the front of the net. However, he picks his spots well, not getting himself out of position to chase the physical play. Sandin maintains good gap control and funnels attackers to the outside. He anticipates plays well and cuts down passing and shooting lanes.
Projection and Comparison
Sandin may not become a franchise defenseman at the NHL level, but with proper time and patience, he can be an effective top-four player, who contributes in all situations. Since his deal is a loan, it is unclear if he will be back in the OHL next season, or back with Rogle BK. In any event, he needs two or three years of development before he’s ready for the NHL. His game is reminiscent of Jake Muzzin but this is purley a stylistic comparison and does not include ability or potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the many highlight packages of Sandin that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Main Photo via Rasmus Sandin’s Twitter account @Rasmussandin