Sandin Stuns In Wild Capitals Debut: ‘A Lot Of Fun To Be Here Now’
Rasmus Sandin reflects on his Washington Capitals debut, playing top minutes and what he’s looking forward to as he catches up with the team’s system.
When he first got out onto the ice against the San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals defenseman Rasmus Sandin admitted to feeling a little lost, and in the first 20 minutes, he wasn't exactly happy with how his first game with his new team was going. However, after a regroup and more shifts, he started to feel more comfortable. And then he broke out.
Sandin shined in his first game for the Capitals, posting three assists, logging heavy minutes and playing key roles in an 8-3 victory over the Sharks.
"I thought I was awful in the first period," Sandin laughed. "I had no idea what I was doing out there sometimes. But I think as a team, we stepped up in the second and third period, and we played really well. It was a lot of fun out there and nice to get the win."
The Swede has been with the team since Tuesday after being acquired in a pre-deadline trade in exchange for Erik Gustafsson and Boston's first-round pick. Sandin didn't get to play on Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks due to visa issues, but did get a few practices in with his new club. And though the transition to the team's systems is still a work in progress, he's already starting to feel at home with Washington.
"I haven't been here for very long right now, but it seems like such a tight group and I'm just super excited to be a part of it," Sanden said. "Four, five days I've been here, everyone's welcomed me in very well and just shows what a team this is. So it's a lot of fun to be here now."
There are high hopes for Sandin, a 22-year-old defenseman who has plenty of upside and is just one of three blueliners signed past this season. The team sees him as a blueliner they can build around, and right now, he is taking on the role of a top-pairing defenseman amid injuries and midseason departures on the blue line. He is also taking on the role of the power-play quarterback with John Carlson still working his way back after a slapshot to the face on Dec. 23 and Dmitry Orlov and Gustafsson no longer on the team.
"I did it back in Toronto as well a little bit and at the top as well. Playing with these players you just try to pass it to them and they're such good players," Sandin said of playing on the man advantage. "They make it pretty easy for me as well, and they just talk to you and telling me what to improve and do a little bit and worked out."
When it comes to getting up to speed with how the team plays, Sandin said a lot of it has been on-the-fly learning and speaking with his teammates and new coaches. Getting in some game action and feeling the puck in real time also helped as he became more confident, made strong passes and joined the rush. The same could be said for his fellow newcomers on the blue line in Vincent Iorio and Gabriel Carlsson, who also picked up assists in their first games up with the big club this season.
"The rest of the team helped us out very well and coaching staff tried to go through the systems with us," Sandin explained. "Still a little bit of an adjustment and it's gonna come a little bit with time, I think. But it was a lot of fun to play out there today.
"I think we did a pretty good job today. Just chat a lot on the ice and off the ice get to know each other," he added. "It's gonna get better as well with time but i thought we had a pretty good first game today."