Can Rasmus Sandin become a top-four defenceman?

After Rasmus Sandin and the Maple Leafs ended a summer-long stalemate by agreeing to a two-year, $2.8-million contract, Toronto fans are now wondering what to expect from Sandin this season.

Video Transcript

- OK, stay with me. Stay with me. Finally, Rasmus Sandin has extended with the Leafs. Now, this hasn't been a long holdout, you know, definitely not as long as the other ones we've seen in the past. But the fact that it's finally done and over with, we don't have to focus on it anymore. It's solid. He's back. He's on the team.

Apparently, he's gained a lot of weight. I think he's like at about 194 right now. That's pretty solid considering the fact that, yes, Sandin is a skilled skating defenseman. But he is not afraid to throw the body a little bit, especially when it comes to those nice reverse checks that he's thrown. Blake Wheeler was an example of that last year. But I think the big question is, where can Rasmus Sandin go? Or where do the Leafs need Rasmus Sandin to go?

Playing time and playing opportunity was one of the things that was playing into Rasmus Sandin's decision to handle the negotiations the way that he did. And now that Muzzin is back, but you don't know how long that's gonna play out. Carl Dahlstrom and Jordie Benn have gotten some injuries there. They're going to be out of the lineup. Victor Mete is coming up, which is great. But I think at the very least, Sandin is going to be penciled in to play all, if not many, Leafs games this season.

But, I guess, where does it take him there? Is [INAUDIBLE] expecting him to continue to grow on the speed and the skill and the confidence? Is he going to remain on the quote-unquote bottom pair the entire time? Or is he going to end up being a top four defenseman for the Leafs? Is he going to play on the left or is he going to play on the right? Kyle Dubas said last year that they preferred Sandin on the left, but recently he's been practicing on the right side with Muzzin.

Now, if Sandine can actually get comfortable on the right-hand side and then have some success there, that works in the Leafs' favor, considering all the left-handed shots that they have and the fact that they don't have many right shots. The only player who shoots left but can play on the right is TJ Brodie. So it'll be a really strong season for Sandin this year to really step up and establish himself. And, again, with the contract that he has at 1.4, that could be a really favorable contract for the Leafs this season.