Projecting Rasmus Sandin's new contract this summer

Published April 4, 2022 at 9:15
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
Rasmus Sandin was the Toronto Maple Leafs' first round draft pick in 2018 (29th overall). In 51 games this season, he has tallied 16 points (5 goals & 11 assists). He is set to become a restricted free agent this off-season as his entry level contract is due to expire, which begs the question; what will his next contract look like?

In looking for a comparable, look no further than former Leaf Travis Dermott. In 2020, Dermott signed a one-year deal worth $874,125. At the time he signed the contract, Dermott had a longer established NHL career, albeit with less potential than Rasmus Sandin. But short term contracts aren't paid for potential. That's what long-term deals are for.

In looking around the league, it appears defensemen who have not established themselves as legitimate top four caliber coming out of entry level deals get squeezed. This is likely due to no arbitration rights and no ability to negotiate with other teams.

Locking up Sandin long-term might sound like a good idea for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but at this point, it is unlikely to happen. Cap space is at a premium for the Leafs, and they are in a win now phase. Locking him up long-term means paying more than he is worth now, in hopes that he grows to exceed the value of his contract. The Toronto Maple Leafs just do not have cap space to do that right now. It is more practical to sign a cheap one or two-year deal from the Toronto Maple Leafs perspective.


As for Sandin, he may welcome that. Rather than lock into a contract that he may outplay, from his perspective it may make more sense to go short-term now in the hopes of having a good season and hitting a home run down the line.

Unlike the entry level contract, Sandin will likely sign a one way contract which means he is guaranteed money. In entry level deals, the salary is lower while the player is in the AHL. Sandin's current contract has him making $70,000 in the AHL and $832,500 in the NHL in real dollars. This is significant as it will be the first contract Sandin signs with guaranteed money. This should help the Leafs at the negotiation table.

Other things working against Sandin are his current injury, making him unable to continue to build his resume for a larger contract. He is also not guaranteed a roster spot when he returns, as the left side defense looks solid with Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin and newly acquired Mark Giordano.

One day Rasmus Sandin will sign a massive long-term deal in the NHL, but I do not envision that to be this offseason. When the dust settles, look for Sandin to sign a one or two-year deal worth around $1M-$1.5M per season.
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