Sandin Opens Up About Trade To Capitals, Ready To Earn Big Role
Rasmus Sandin discusses his trade to the Washington Capitals, shares more about his game and believes he can earn a big role in D.C.
Rasmus Sandin was in the middle of practice for the Toronto Maple Leafs in Seattle when he was pulled aside and told he was being traded to the Washington Capitals. He made his way off the ice as his teammates continued to get work in, packed up and got on a plane to Anaheim to join his new team.
It marked the end of a five-year tenure in the Leafs' organization and a new beginning for Sandin, and though the move wasn't something he thought would happen, the 22-year-old sees it as a big next step forward.
“I was a little surprised. Obviously, wasn't something I was expecting," Sandin admitted. "Sad to leave the teammates, stuff like that, but at the same time, really excited for the opportunity to come here. It's a great organization, and already seeing the guys now for just a couple of hours, they seem really really good. Very excited for it.”
Sandin is a left-handed shot who skates well and has a high hockey IQ, as well as a strong first pass and the ability to join the rush. Through 52 games this season, he has four goals and 16 assists for a career-high 20 points this season, along with 113 hits and a +/- rating of plus-10.
"I think I’m a pretty creative player. I try to play the puck, do what I see out there, try to read the game, I think that’s one of my strengths, and I’m trying to be a two-way player, play good with the puck, good breakouts, stuff like that," Sandin said.
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The 5-11, 182-pound blueliner is a force to be reckoned with and has a lot of upside, and he joins John Carlson and Nick Jensen, who inked a three-year extension on Tuesday, as the only defenders under contract past this season.
Looking at his role, Sandin knows that he has a shot to draw in on the top-4 with Carlson remaining out long-term and Dmitry Orlov and Erik Gustafsson, who he was traded for, leaving the team. However, he wants to prove he belongs there and is eager to show the organization what he can do.
"You want to earn that role that you want. It's not just about coming here and being given that role that you want," Sandin said. "You have to earn it. Very prepared for it and very excited about it.”
Big open ice hit from Rasmus Sandin on Kent Johnson👀
Hit him so hard his glove went flying off.#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/tRYYwemF9h
— Joseph Zita (@josephdzita) February 11, 2023
Sandin was taken 29th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, just two picks before new teammate Alex Alexeyev. He credits his brother, Linus, for a lot of his success and growth over the years.
"It means everything. He’s definitely the reason I made it this far," Sandin said, adding, "Since we were younger, he really paved the way and showed me how to be a good human being and also a good hockey player. I have everything to thank him for.”
Coming into the dressing room on Wednesday, Sandin said he was familiar with a couple of his new teammates, including former Leafs forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel and countrymate Nicklas Backstrom.
"All Swedes know each other," Sandin, who is now just one of two Swedes left on the Capitals roster following the Marcus Johansson and Gustafsson trades, joked.
"It's a lot of new faces, but I like that. It's a lot of fun meeting new people, so I’m very happy about it," Sandin added.
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There are immigration and visa complications that need to be worked out before Sandin can suit up, so it remains to be seen if the new addition will draw in on Wednesday. If he doesn't play, he added that it will be helpful to have time to watch the game live from up top and continue to go over video and film. Still, he's familiar with the systems, which are similar to Toronto's.
“I remember playing Washington with Toronto and I love how they play their game. it’s gonna be a lot of fun to be a part of.. the transition’s not gonna be as long," Sandin said. "I’m very excited about it and it’s gonna be fun learning more about the system and all the guys."
In the end, Sandin is looking forward to starting with his new club and is not only looking to win a role but to continue to prove himself, develop and evolve as an NHL defenseman.
"I'm still very young, I want to improve on everything," he said. "Defensive play, stuff like that and make sure I’m in the right spot the whole time. Especially now coming to a new team, learn the system and stuff like that and just try to fit in with the team.”