The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a difficult decision and although it is an understable one it is not currently going over very well with a seemingly large segment of their fan base.
First, according to a breaking news report from Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston the Maple Leafs have decided to send rookie defenseman Rasmus Sandin back down to the American Hockey League where he will once again join the Toronto Marlies. The move may initially seem like a confusing one given the fact that Sandin has looked pretty good while out on the ice for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Through his first 6 career NHL games Sandin has recorded no goals and 2 assists for a total of 2 points and boasts a plus minus rating of 0 thus far in the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season.
With Sandin being sent down to the American Hockey League the Maple Leafs have also mained a corresponding call up from the AHL, and it will be 27 year old former Edmonton Oilers defenseman Kevin Gravel who will receive the call up. It is unclear at this time if Gravel will suit up for the Maple Leafs but if he does it would make it his Toronto Maple Leafs debut. There are several potential factors that could be motivating this move, the first and most obvious being that head coach Mike Babcock may have wanted some more sandpaper on his roster, something that Gravel will bring to the table.
That being said though TSN National Hockey League insider Pierre LeBrun believes that this move is actually motivated by the Maple Leafs desire to get Sandin more ice time than he was currently getting at the NHL level. LeBrun states clearly that he feels Sandin's development is the primary factor behind this move.
"This is about the player's development," said LeBrun on Monday. "He's playing just 12 minutes a game in the NHL and no special teams. My sense is the Leafs feel his development is better served playing big minutes within a more impactful role in the AHL."
It also has to be mentioned that Sandin has only played in 6 regular season games thus far on the season and would need to play a full 10 before he would burn the first year on his entry-level deal. If the Maple Leafs feel the player is still in need of significant development they could avoid burning that contract year by keeping him in the AHL for the majority of the regular season.