Rasmus Sandin was recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday after Morgan Rielly went down with a fractured foot. On Tuesday, the 19-year-old rookie made his presence felt both on the ice and on the scoresheet in his team’s 7-4 victory over the Devils. While both goals scored off of Sandin’s shots will be marked as assists for the youngster, it was his shot and his vision that created the tallies.
Twice in the first period, Sandin launched shots from the point that were deflected in front of New Jersey Devils goalie Louis Domingue for scores.
On the first goal, Maple Leafs captain John Tavares slapped the puck downward off Sanidn’s offering, creating a bounce that eluded Domingue and gave Toronto the early 1-0 lead.
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The latter came on the man advantage and prompted Sportsnet color commentator Greg Millen to compliment Sandin’s ability to play “quarterback” of the power-play unit and create the scoring chance with his mobility.
Such praise is typically reserved for proven superstars, so it might come as a surprise to distant observers that Sandin’s two-point effort on Tuesday was just his seventh game at the NHL level in his young career.
Drafted in the first round of the 2018 draft, the defenseman made his NHL debut on opening night this season, notching an assist in the 5-3 win. He got his second assist in his last game on Oct. 12 before being sent back down to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. He doubled his point total against the Devils.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe surely took note after Sandin’s solid outing at the World Juniors in which he led all defensemen in scoring (three goals, seven assists) and finished fifth overall. The Swede also scored a goal in the bronze-medal match against Finland; Sweden won 3-2.
No one knows how long he will remain with the Leafs (Rielly will miss at least eight weeks tending to his fractured foot) but having too many productive defensemen seems like a good problem to have.