The logic of all this Rasmus Sandin saga escapes me. Perhaps that’s because I’m older than the average bear and it’s easier to see the bigger picture when you’ve seen 75 years of bigger pictures. I’m surprised he and his agent Lewis Gross are so intransigent about not signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I have to think Sandin might be missing a huge career opportunity. I think he should look a couple of seasons into the future. If he did, he’d realize that, while the left side of the Maple Leafs defense is loaded now, it will likely clear out pretty quickly. In two seasons, just when Sandin is ready to step into a leadership role on the team’s blue line, the other guys will be gone.
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There Are Good Reasons for Sandin to Sign On Now
From my perspective, Sandin would be wise to take advantage of the unique situation that is presenting itself with the Maple Leafs. Two things seem to be leaning in his favor instead of against him.
First, he’s teammates with one of the best defensemen in the NHL in Mark Giordano. Giordano has already shown his willingness to play nice with the organization. In dollars and cents, he loyal(ed) up to his hometown team by taking a huge hometown discount. Giordano also has the reputation of making everyone he partners with on the defense better.
Jason Spezza has already set an example of how the veteran players within the organization work with their younger teammates. You’d have to think Giordano is more than willing to pass on his craft knowledge to the younger Sandin. If only Sandin would sign and come to camp. I can see the team even pairing Sandin with Giordano.
In Two Years, the Team’s Defense Will Look Entirely Different
Second, true the left side of the defense is loaded right now. However, taking a longer view, Sandin would see that Giordano is only signed for two more seasons. Sandin could learn from one of the best right now. Then, when Giordano left, Sandin should be ready to take his position. He’d probably be second only to Morgan Rielly in terms of best defensemen on the team.
Those two seasons would offer Sandin a way to solidify his place in the team’s future.
Related: MAPLE LEAFS ON THE MOVE UP, CURTIS DOUGLAS
There’s No Leverage in Sandin’s Favor for Not Signing
In a recent post in the LeafsNation, Michael Mazzei notes there are rumblings that Sandin is hesitant to sign because it isn’t clear where in the lineup he would play. In addition, how much ice time he would actually be given night to night on any given night? Mazzei notes that, because an offer sheet has not yet materialized, he believes Sandin wants to stay in Toronto as much as the team wants him to stick around.
The best guess is that Sandin will sign a bridge deal for two years that would come in between under $2 million. Then, given the longer view noted above, such a two-year deal would help set Sandin up for a bigger payday once the current line of left-side defensemen (Jake Muzzin, TJ Brodie, and Mark Giordano) all run out of term in 2024.
So, When Will Something Happen?
Right now, there seems to be little happening. It could be that something radical (such as a Sandin trade) would occur, but the smart money suggests the team and the young defenseman will reach an agreement.
Right now there are still a few more days (maybe even weeks) before the situation becomes urgent. No one, unless it’s Sandin’s agent Gross, wants to replay a Willian Nylander-like sage of 2018.
Give it a couple more weeks, then watch out.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Aston-Reese, Sandin, Gio & Goat
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September 17, 2022 at 9:34 am
Jim – you know my position on Sandin. Have written now for one year that this guy is a malcontent and overhyped and a guy that should have been traded. Was torched by 99% of leaf nation for uttering such words. Yet fast forward and here we now all are. It’s all about him. You are 100% correct he does not see the big picture. He wants it now.
He will be a good serviceable Dman in this league. Doubt he will ever be a #1 and will always have to be partnered with someone who makes up for his shortcomings. Now unfortunately Dubas has also allowed too much time to pass and the trade market has somewhat shrunk, thus his value has gone down.
Definitely don’t want this to be a camp distraction. Let him go back to Sweden and play there while he figures things out. Hopefully for the leafs another team will incur an injury and come a calling with a good trade offer
September 17, 2022 at 10:59 am
The kid never got dressed in the playoffs, after he recovered, and now he’d rather be traded. I’d bet that’s what’s going through his head. There are loads of other veteran Dmen around the league to mentor him, so I don’t think the Leafs present a unique opportunity there. I’d look for ways of shipping out Sandin, Holl, and Kerfoot for a slight upgrade on Holl (with PK strength), and a defensive-minded bottom 6 forward.
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September 17, 2022 at 12:28 pm
Hi Jim, I somehow have missed any evidence that Sandin is acting like a prima dona (as suggested in other comments above). The same rhetoric was laid upon Nylander’s camp some years ago.
The resulting contract looks excellent with respect to the more expensive ones that exist. I expect that we will not go the same route as before, unless Sandin’s agent really wants to have his client sit a full season. So far as I can tell, the Leafs can’t afford to wait through the season until December like did previously and I expect that Sandin doesn’t want to sit out a season.
As I’ve stated in previous comments, Dubas seems to follow the dictum “if you’ve time, use it!”. It’s probably better to let those who want to negotiate in private to do so. All else is speculation, and some of it has become rabid!
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