Maple Leafs sign RFA Sandin to 2-year pact with $1.4M AAV
The Toronto Maple Leafs ended their contract stalemate with restricted free-agent defenseman Rasmus Sandin, signing him Thursday to a two-year pact with an average annual value of $1.4 million.
Sandin suited up for a career-high 51 contests in 2021-22. He potted five goals - good for second among all Maple Leafs defenders - and 11 assists while averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time per contest.
The Swede posted favorable underlying numbers in Toronto last season. The Maple Leafs controlled 55% of the goals, 58% of the expected goals, and 58% of the scoring chances with Sandin on the ice at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick.
The signing comes at the perfect time for the Maple Leafs, who have run into injury trouble on their blue line before the start of the regular season. Timothy Liljegren is on the sidelines after undergoing hernia surgery, while Jake Muzzin is working through back discomfort.
Depth pieces Jordie Benn and Carl Dahlstrom suffered injuries during Wednesday's preseason clash against the Montreal Canadiens, forcing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot to fill in on defense.
The ailment issues apparently urged Sandin's camp to get a deal done.
"This morning, Rasmus Sandin and (agent) Lewis Gross reached out to us and informed us that after watching our game last night and seeing more injuries accrued by our defense, that they wanted to get this locked in today," general manager Kyle Dubas said, according to ESPN's Kristen Shilton.
Sandin signed the same deal as teammate and fellow RFA rearguard Liljegren, who put pen to paper in late June. They'll both remain RFAs once their pacts expire. When that time comes, Sandin will be due a qualifying offer of $1.6 million, per TSN's Chris Johnston.
Selected by the Leafs in the first round of the 2018 draft, Sandin has 28 points in 88 career contests.
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