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New York Islanders

Islanders Should Offer Sheet Maple Leafs Rasmus Sandin



Rasmus Sandin, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs

As of now, the New York Islanders have not added to their forward group but did add defenseman Alexander Romanov on draft night, an upgrade over Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara. But the Islanders still have a hole on defense, and to fill that hole, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello should offer sheet Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman, Rasmus Sandin.

Offer sheets do not often occur in hockey, given the compensation rules.

Since 2010 there have been five offer sheets, with only one not being matched. That came prior to the start of the 2021-22 season when the Carolina Hurricanes offer sheeted Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Montreal declined to match it.

It’s not a common move, but it’s one that would make a lot of sense for general manager Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders.

Here’s how offer sheets work.

If a restricted free agent (class 3-4) decides to sign an opposing team’s offer sheet, the team that owns his rights have 48 hours to either match the offer. If the rights holder does not match the offer, then that player is eligible to sign a contract with his new team.

The team that lost the player is compensated with draft picks, depending on the annual average value of the offered deal.

Now let’s look at the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Why should the Islanders offer sheet Rasmus Sandin to begin with?

European scout Jim Paliafito, who was hired by Lamoriello this past summer, played an integral role in the scouting of Sandin.

For starters, the Islanders could use another left-handed shot defenseman to play on the third pairing with Scott Mayfield (RHD). The Islanders strength is their defense, and with the acquisition of Alexander Romanov, have a rather strong top four group on the backend, and five strong players.




Adding Rasmus Sandin in Salo’s spot would be ideal, given the fact that the 21-year-old Salo could use more time in Bridgeport. The Islanders re-signed depth defenseman Sebastian Aho, who could serve as the team’s seventh defenseman unless Salo shows up and impresses enough at training camp to claim that spot.

Not to mention, the New York Islanders would be getting another 22-year-old defenseman, making their backend younger than it’s been in quite some time. With age comes experience, and that will already be a concern heading into 2022-23 with Dobson, Romanov, Salo, and potentially Sandin, young and still learning the NHL game.

But if you are the Islanders, you want your defense to grow with one another, like we saw with Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock. Especially under a new head coach in Lane Lambert, who will be relying on his defense heavily in 2022-23.

There are other options in free agency, such as John Klingberg, Colin Miller, former Islander Calvin DeHaan, and former Devil P.K. Subban. With Scott Mayfield a right-handed shot, that eliminates Klingberg, Miller, and Subban as options, unless Mayfield is moved–or unless the Islanders do not mind two right-handed shot defenseman on the same line. 

There are options via trade, like Arizona Coyotes Jakob Chychrun, but it would take a lot for the Islanders to acquire him.

But if Rasmus Sandin is the real deal, which through his first season appears to have a high ceiling in the NHL, now is the time for the New York Islanders to pounce on this offer sheet opportunity.

The New York Islanders should offer the most amount they can at Sandin before the compensation becomes a first and a third-round pick. The compensation goes from a second-round pick to the first and the third once the AAV of the contract exceeds just north of $4.2 million ($4,201,488 to be exact).

The Islanders should offer $4.1 million.

Rasmus Sandin had five goals and 11 assists in 56 games with Toronto this past season. He has played in the NHL since 2019, playing just 28 games in 2019-20 and only nine games in 2020-21.

He essentially is no longer a rookie, but the 2021-22 season was his first season as a staple in the Maple Leafs lineup.

Besides career-highs in goals, assists, and points this past season, he set career-highs in shots (48), shooting percentage (10.8%), average minutes per game (16:58), blocks (39), and hits (88).

That all came as a member of the third defensive pairing.

Per Natural Stat Trick, when Rasmus Sandin was on the ice in 2021-22 (5 on 5), the Maple Leafs had a Corsi For % of 54.69, owned the majority of shots at 52.93%, with a Goals For % of 55.07%.

When you think of defensive pairings, the third pairing usually faces the weaker forward groups that the opposition throws at them. And that is true but he held his own against those types of players and, if a member of the New York Islanders, he would be on the third pairing.

Sandin fell victim to a knee injury back on March 19 and, on March 21, landed on long-term IR. He missed the final 20 games of the regular season and all of the 2021-22 postseason.

No one wants to hear about adding defense to a team that needs a forward, understandably. The biggest thing getting in the Islanders’ way is that Josh Bailey contract, which appears to not be moveable. Routes are slim to none if cap space is not created.

The day before the 2022 NHL Draft, Lou Lamoriello was asked about a potential offer sheet to RFA Noah Dobson.

“I don’t even think like that. It’s not even in my vocabulary,” Lamoriello said.

“We’ll do whatever we can to get him signed, you know, whenever we can. But we’re not going to be threatened by worrying about doing something because of an offer sheet.”

Was ‘offer sheet’ the word not in his vocabulary, or was being worried about an offer sheet not in his vocabulary?

“If there’s going to be an offer sheet, the sooner the better so we can make our decision and move on,”  Dubas said on Wednesday, July 6. He also stated that Sandin is a big part of the team’s future.

The Toronto Maple Leafs only have $2.06 million in cap space. If the Islanders were to offer sheet Sandin for $4.1 million, Toronto’s general manager Kyle Dubas would need to create space quickly in order to match it.

Rasmus Sandin, given what he has shown at the NHL level, can help the Islanders going forward and fits into their cap situation.


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