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Ex-Leafs Player Development Staff Member Discloses Reasons Behind Rasmus Sandin Trade

Published March 20, 2023 at 8:28 PM

Earlier this month, the Leafs decided to trade defenseman Rasmus Sandin to the Capitals in exchange for Erik Gustafsson and a 2023 first-round draft pick. This marked the end of Sandin's tenure with the Leafs, who had drafted him 29th overall in the first round in 2018.

Reasons behind the Leafs trading Sandin

Jack Han, who worked in player development, scouting, and analytics for the Leafs between 2017 and 2019, has shed light on the reasoning behind the trade. According to Han, Sandin was traded by Dubas primarily for asset management purposes and due to his weakness in net-front defense.

Han elaborates on his perspective in a blog post discussing why he believes the Leafs traded Sandin.

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 excel in third-pair minutes in the same way Sandin had been doing."

Weakness in 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 disrupt plays up-ice.

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

As reported by Hockey Patrol - Former Member of Leafs Player Development Staff Reveals Why Rasmus Sandin Was Traded
March 20   |   130 answers
Ex-Leafs Player Development Staff Member Discloses Reasons Behind Rasmus Sandin Trade

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