Reason for Leafs trading Rasmus Sandin revealed

This could be the reasons behind the deal.



Earlier this month, the Toronto Maple Leafs made the decision to trade 22 year old defenseman Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Erik Gustafsson and a 2023 first-round pick. It officially brought an end to his time with the organization who drafted him in the first round, 29th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

But what were the underlying reasons for the trade? We may now have the answer courtesy of Jack Han, who previously worked in player development, scouting and analytics for the organization from 2017 through 2019. In his mind, it was a case of Leafs GM Kyle Dubas practicing asset management - as well as a weakness by Sandin in front of the net. 

Take a look at a recent article he penned in which he laid out the reasons he felt the Leafs moved on from Sandin.

1. Asset Management

"Regardless of how much Kyle Dubas believes in Sandin’s abilities (quite a bit, at least for as long as I was in the organization), the Leafs’ GM probably saw the trade as an opportunity to improve his team.

In the very short term, Gustafsson is the type of offensive defenseman who can crush third-pair minutes in the same way Sandin had been doing."

2. Net-Front Defense

"Statistically, Sandin’s 5v5 performance is nearly above reproach. According to Natural Stat Trick, Sandin’s controlled 54.2% of on-ice shots and 59.2% of on-ice goals in nearly 1700 minutes of ice time since 2020. Even in third-pair usage on a good team, these are elite outputs.

From a qualitative standpoint, Sandin moves the puck accurately, jumps into the play to create options and has a knack for using his skating and his defensive stick to kill plays up-ice.

Sandin’s principal weakness, from an eye test perspective, is net-front defense."

There you have it.