Even though the regular season is in full swing, the scouting work for upcoming campaigns never stops. Signing undrafted players from Europe has been more and more common in the NHL during the last few years. It’s usually a low risk, with a potential of giving high reward.
Last night Capitals scout Danny Brooks was present in Kinnarps Arena in Jönköping for the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) game between HV71 and the Malmö Redhawks. Helge Grans, the highly rated defender in the upcoming NHL Draft was also playing in the game, and likely interested most of the scouts present. Brooks was potentially multi-tasking though, according to the local newspaper Jönköpings-Posten, who caught the scout in conversation with HV71’s 23-year-old winger Linus Sandin after the game.
“We have had some contact, and now he (Danny Brooks) was here to watch, but we didn’t have that much time to speak after the game”, Sandin said to Jönköpings-Posten after the game.
Linus Sandin is undrafted and somewhat off a late-bloomer, having taken the step to the SHL two years ago after rising through the ranks in the second league teams, Almtuna, MODO and Mora. The Swede then had breakout season last year in the SHL with Rögle BK, scoring 16 goals despite playing with a rather weak team.
Sandin was selected for the national team and played a total of eight games for Team Sweden during two tournaments leading up to the World Championships, where he stepped aside for NHL-players who eventually joined the team late.
This year has been filled with ups and downs for Sandin, who joined HV71, the same team in which Martin Feherváry represented last year. After a great start, the production has slowed down and at the moment Linus Sandin has registered a total of 12 points in 24 games (7+5).
Sandin has the second best corsi on the team, at 55.60 percent. Sandin furthermore comes in third in terms of fenwick (53.37 percent), while also ranking fourth in terms of PDO with a score of 107.56. With all that in mind it’s arguable that Linus Sandin, to a large degree, drives the HV71 offense.
We are probably not talking about the next big export from Sweden, but likely a potentially smart signing which could turn out to be a surprise. The number of Swedes in the NHL is higher than ever, with former HV71’er Kevin Stenlund breaking the record the other night, becoming the 99th Swedish player to suit up in the big league this season.
There’s a Swedish saying which goes “no smoke, without a fire”, and with the Capitals being potentially interested in Sandin, it’s not impossible that we’ll see him at training camp next year.
By Jesper Svensson