Colorado Avalanche: Rasmus Sandin Would Give Smart, All-Around Play

WINDSOR, ON - OCTOBER 05: Forward Tim Gettinger #26 of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds celebrates his game winning overtime goal against the Windsor Spitfires on October 5, 2017 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ON - OCTOBER 05: Forward Tim Gettinger #26 of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds celebrates his game winning overtime goal against the Windsor Spitfires on October 5, 2017 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche will likely pick somewhere between #16 to #20 in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Will they take a run on another defenseman?

The Colorado Avalanche seem to be in perpetual need of defensive help. Rasmus Sandin is the fifth highest-ranked North American defenseman and likely to fall within the Avalanche’s range.

Will Colorado spend another first-round pick on a defenseman, though? Probably not unless they consider him a steal. They have Conor Timmins coming in next year, expected to make the team pretty quickly, And they expect last year’s fourth-overall, Cale Makar, to sign a contract after his sophomore year at UMass.

colorado avalanche
WINDSOR, ON – OCTOBER 05: Forward Tim Gettinger #26 of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds celebrates his game winning overtime goal against the Windsor Spitfires on October 5, 2017 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images) /

Let’s see if Rasmus Sandin might be that steal.

Rasmus Sandin

2017-18 Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 
Date of Birth: March 7, 2000 (18 years old)
Ht: 5’11”
Wt: 184 pounds
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left

Ranked #26 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM

Ranked #19 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

Ranked #26 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY

Ranked #11 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

Defenseman Rasmus Sandin is known for being one of those 200-foot players, which, of course, every team wants. He’s known as being a gifted two-way defenseman.

Here’s what Future Considerations has to say about his stick handling skills:

A skilled puckhandler who has the confidence to attempt long stretch passes up the middle of the ice or to skate it himself. His hands are an asset in corralling the puck off a hard pass or making a slick deke.

The Avalanche prize skill, so those kinds of stick skills would be a benefit to the team.

Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey also sees some value in Sandin’s stick skills:

He has a good arsenal of shots, which he has a knack for getting on net. Sandin is much more likely to use a wrist shot or snapshot than he is to load up for a slap shot, even from the point… Both his wrist and snapshot generate decent power, and he has a quick release.”

When it comes to Colorado, though, it’s all about the skating and the speed. Here’s what Kerr observes in Rasmus Sandin’s skating:

His speed is slightly above average, and he keeps up with the play, but he is not a speedster by any means… With good cross-overs and agility, he is able to retreat quickly and keep the play in front of him.

It’s not great to hear skating and speed aren’t exactly his strong suit. However, they’re not Timmins’ either, and we fully expect him to contribute to the team.

Here’s what Future Considerations says of Sandin’s skating:

Although a decent skater with adequate speed, his edgework isn’t as crisp as it could be and it affects him when moving laterally or changing directions.”

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Again, that doesn’t sound right up the Avs’ alley. However, Dominic Tiano of OHL Writers doesn’t see skating as an impediment to Sandin’s game:

While there are also questions about a lack of high end speed or an explosive first step, it’s not something that gets him into trouble. He’s not a slow skater by any means and it is something he can continue to work on to improve.”

The general consensus, though, is that Sandin’s best asset is his hockey smarts. Every single scout seems to call him “smart” — and they’re talking about that elusive hockey IQ.

Here’s what Tiano says:

Smart is an adjective you will hear a lot about Sandin. Any disadvantage he has, he overcomes because of it. In the defensive zone he possesses excellent gap control with near flawless positioning with his body or very active stick.”

Future Considerations sees some very specific application of his hockey smarts:

He has very good defensive awareness, particularly when switching checks or choosing when to pressure opponents below the goal line.

It’s Kerr who’s most impressed with Rasmus Sandin’s hockey IQ:

Sandin is an extremely intelligent player. He is poised with the puck on his stick and makes smart plays. Sandin has great vision and the ability to thread the needle to the open man with good passing skills…Sandin’s strong positioning and understanding of the game extends to the defensive zone as well.

Rasmus Sandin in action:

Rasmus Sandin and the Colorado Avalanche

Rasmus Sandin has a lot of skills that could benefit the Colorado Avalanche. He has those stick skills. And the Avs like players who see the ice well and play intelligently.

I don’t know that those skills make up for his lack of size and, more importantly, lack of speed. Not every player on the Avs has to be a speedster, but I think the team is more likely to sacrifice that skill in later rounds.

If, for some reason, the Avalanche did decide to draft Sandin in the first round, he wouldn’t make a bad addition to the team.

MORE COLORADO AVALANCHE PROSPECTS:

The 2018 NHL Draft takes place in Dallas, Texas at the American Airlines Center. The first round is Friday, June 22 with rounds 2 to 7 taking place Saturday June 23.