Rasmus Sandin has one goal and seven assists in four games since the Maple Leafs traded him to the Washington Capitals at the NHL trade deadline, leaving many Toronto fans worried that the team sold low on the 23-year-old defenceman. However, since his arrival, Sandin leads the Capitals in average time on ice, an opportunity he simply would not be getting in the Leafs' system.
- If you're like me, you're on Leafs Twitter a lot. And if you're on Leafs Twitter a lot, then you see generally something that happens every time Rasmus Sandin gets a point with the Washington Capitals. "The Leafs blew it."
"They traded another player too early." "Oh, look what's happening now." "Another bad trade," "another bad deal." OK.
Let's take a seat and then let's have a conversation. Now did I like the Leafs trading Rasmus Sandin? No, mostly because I thought that another trade was coming, because again the Leafs got a first-round pick out of it and Erik Gustafsson. That was cool, right?
Now the trade deadline passed. No nothing else came of it. It just ended up being that pick and the player, right? And Rasmus Sandin is having a great run on his new team.
I'm seeing a lot of people list the goal, the assist, the primary points. But here's the focus, and here's where the difference is. And this is why when I see people saying that Sandin is the new Jared McCann, no. Rasmus Sandin's ice time has skyrocketed. He's playing 24 minutes a night. He's playing 29 minutes a night.
And now you have to ask yourself a question. If you're a Leafs' fan that looks at every point that Rasmus Sandin gets in Washington with horror, ask yourself this one question. Would he have gotten those minutes in Toronto? Not should, would he have? No, he wouldn't.
Again, not saying he doesn't deserve it. I think at some point, if the Leafs took their time, kept Sandin in the system, there would be a time where he-- or maybe if you make another deal, he ends up being a consistent top four option for the Leafs. But right now, in this moment, he would not be in the lineup. He just wouldn't. Do I agree with that? No.
Do I like that? No, but that's the reality, and that's the main difference. Rasmus Sandin isn't getting all of these points playing on the bottom pair 12 or 13 minutes or other times just being completely scratched because the Leafs acquired other defensemen that Sheldon Keefe would likely play in front of him. That's the reality. That's how it goes.
So, yes, for me, there was a time where I get it. I saw the highlights. I saw all the points that Sandin was putting up. And I was, like, oh, my gosh, the Leafs did it again.
But you just have to focus on what the reality is. And the reality is, you wouldn't be getting those minutes and those opportunities to do that on the Leafs. He wouldn't be playing on the top power play. He wouldn't be playing all of these key assignments at 5 on 5.
And, again, I'm not saying that he wasn't capable of them. It's just based off of the personnel that we have, it wouldn't happen. And that's the main factor that's leading to his contributions.
This may end up being a trade that the Leafs regret heavily moving forward. Maybe I can see like in five years down the line, Rasmus Sandin is Washington's number one defenseman. And we all look at that trade and say, oh, my gosh, what a horrible trade. But if this was just a piece of the puzzle that allowed the Leafs to do the thing that we've been trying to do for so long, then I'm OK with it.
So to be honest, I'm actually really happy for Sandin because he is a player and a person that I've liked being part of the Leafs' organization for a while. And I'm ecstatic that he's getting this opportunity, that he's thriving with this opportunity. But I don't think we have to look at every single Leafs' trade and say, oh, my gosh, here's where we went wrong. Maybe let's give a little room for things to go right hopefully.