The Washington Capitals were major sellers at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, and while they unloaded several veterans on expiring contracts, they made one addition. After their trade with the Boston Bruins that sent Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to Beantown, the Capitals found themselves with an extra first-round pick at their disposal. Knowing the draft pick would fall at the back end of the first round general manager Brian MacLellan used that pick to acquire a 23-year-old NHL defenseman instead of waiting for the draft.
The Capitals acquired Rasmus Sandin from the Toronto Maple Leafs, a young left-shot defenseman who could not carve out a role in Toronto. He was buried on the Maple Leafs third line pair and unable to establish himself in his fourth year in the NHL.
Since coming over to Washington and being placed on their top pairing, he has blossomed into the player Toronto thought he would be when they drafted him 29th overall in the 2018 Draft. He has found instant success in the nation’s capital as he has dominated in the four games he has played.
Sandin has recorded eight points (1 G, 7 A) since joining the Capitals, the most of any NHL defenseman during that span. He’s turned in three multi-point outings in his first four games with the franchise, something no Capitals player had previously done before.
He has been logging, on average, around 25 minutes of ice time a game as he has been excellent in both ends producing a plus-six rating. What has stood out the most from Sandin is his exceptional passing ability which was on full display during their win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night when he recorded three primary assists.
“I just feel confident. I’m getting a very big opportunity from the coaches,” he said. “I feel like they really believe in me. All my teammates are helping me out so much on the ice. Those plays, obviously, they’re working to get in the right position, too. I think we’ve been working together pretty good as a unit when we’ve been on the ice. I’m just super excited to be here and having a lot of fun out there.”
With Sandin one of four defensemen under contract next year for the Capitals, expect him to continue to blossom, especially when the team’s top defenseman, John Carlson, returns to his spot on the right side of the top pairing.