Toronto Maple Leafs send Rasmus Sandin to Marlies to prioritize development

Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Just six games into the season, Rasmus Sandin has been loaned to the Toronto Marlies in order to get some more seasoning.

Just a few games into the 2019-20 campaign, the Toronto Maple Leafs have already made a roster move that has divided the fanbase.

The team has called up defenceman Kevin Gravel and loaned top prospect Rasmus Sandin to the Toronto Marlies.

Sandin made the team out of training camp following a strong preseason. In six outings to open the year, the 19-year-old has a pair of assists and two penalty minutes. He played every game on the third pairing, splitting time playing alongside Justin Holl and Martin Marincin.

Gravel played in 36 games for the Edmonton Oilers last season, putting up three assists in that time. In his first three games with the Marlies this year, he’s failed to record a point.

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While it won’t be the most popular move that the Leafs front office will make this season, it doesn’t hurt Sandin’s long-term development.

The youngster was averaging just over 10 minutes a game at even strength and around 12 minutes in total. Heading down to the AHL will allow him to play on the Marlies’ first line and form a top four that also features Timothy Liljegren, Jordan Schmaltz, and Ben Harpur.

The Marlies have already started their season undefeated, beating the Belleville Senators in their home opener before taking both halves of a back-to-back against the Manitoba Moose over the weekend.

The move also frees up nearly $200,000 in cap space for the Leafs.

Gravel had a decent showing in the preseason, and with Travis Dermott set to return shortly, the Leafs need a stopgap until he comes back into the lineup.

Sandin will surely be back with the team when the games are a little more important. Right now, it just doesn’t make sense to have a top prospect on the bench for the majority of the games to open the campaign.

He’ll feature on both the power play and penalty kill in the AHL and get over 20 minutes a night. With just one campaign in pro hockey prior to this year under his belt, Sandin is going to be able to light it up on the Marlies again.

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Did the Leafs make the right call on Sandin? Should he have been given more time in the NHL? Let us know in the comments below.