Why The Capitals Should Extend An Offersheet To Maple Leafs’ RFA Rasmus Sandin

Photo: Pension Plan Puppets

With pending unrestricted free agent Justin Schultz not expected to re-sign with the Washington Capitals, the team has an opening on their third defensive pairing. Since no prospects appear ready to take on that role, they will have to look for one outside of the organization. The best option appears to be Toronto Maple Leafs pending restricted free agent Rasmus Sandin.

Addition Will Help Capitals Get Younger

The Capitals were tied for the oldest team in the NHL for the second season in a row (29.8) with the Dallas Stars.

Sandin just turned 22-years-old in March and is NHL ready as he has played 88 games over his first three seasons, including a career-high 51 last.

The team will likely have defenseman Martin Fehervary (22), center Connor McMichael (21), and center Aliaksei Protas (21) on the NHL roster next season but their core of captain Alex Ovechkin (will turn 37 in September), center Evgeny Kuznetsov (30), right-wing T.J. Oshie (35), and defenseman John Carlson (32) are all getting up there in age. The more youth that the Capitals have to complement their core, the better and the more the veterans will be rejuvenated.

Would Bring In A Possible Top-Four Blueliner

Sandin has upside as a first-round pick (30th overall) in 2018 and averaged 16:58 per game last season (sixth among Toronto defensemen). While he did not have as heavy a workload, Sandin was playing behind Morgan Reilly, T.J. Brodie, Jake Muzzin, and eventually Mark Giordano after the Maple Leafs acquired him from the Seattle Kraken at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.

Sandin got a heavy workload, including a 23-minute outing, and made strides in his development prior to the NHL All-Star Break, according to The Athletic.

While he may not start next season in the Capitals’ top four, he ultimately could someday.

Strong Statistics

Last season, Sandin posted five goals, 16 points, a +9 rating, a 54.69% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 58.28% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 58.17% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage. The 1:21 per game that he averaged on the power play ranked third among Maple Leafs defensemen.

Sandin has not posted a five-on-five Corsi-for percentage lower than 52.41% or a scoring chances-for percentage lower than 52.66% in each of his three NHL seasons in addition to a five-on-five expected goals-for percentage of least 55.05% in each of his first two full ones.

Graphic: JFresh

After re-signining Giordano, the Maple Leafs do not have room for Sandin to play on a nightly basis so it is possible that they may have to move him.

Reasonable Cost

Following Sandin’s strong season and his reputation as a late first-round pick, the cost to acquire him via trade could be around a second and a lower pick.

The Capitals could also tender an offersheet to Sandin, who is worth around $2.75 million on his next deal. However, the Carolina Hurricanes’ offersheet for Montreal Canadiens restricted free agent Jesperi Kotkaniemi was for one year at $6.1 million, an overpayment to get the Canadiens not to match. Since the contract was just for one year, the Hurricanes were able to sign Kotkaniemi to a much more reasonable $4.82 million cap hit for the next seven years when he became eligible to re-sign.

The Capitals would likely have to overpay Sandin to the extent that matching is not worth it for the Maple Leafs for one year before giving him what he is worth. Supposing center Nicklas Backstrom, who underwent a surgery to resurface his left hip earlier this month, misses the entire season, the Capitals could have $18,178,334 in cap space with right-wing Tom Wilson (torn ACL) set to return sometime between Thanksgiving and the NHL All-Star Break.

That would leave the team around a $5.2 million margin to sign Sandin. However, any offer that carries a cap hit over $4.0215 million would cost the Capitals at least a first-round pick so if they could get Sandin for around $4 million on the dot, that would be ideal. In fact, it would cost the Capitals just a second-round pick in compensation, lower than what the cost would be to acquire Sandin via trade.

Good Chance Of Successful Offersheet

The Maple Leafs have $6,444,384 remaining in cap space with center Pierre Engvall and right-wing Ondrej Kase also eligible to become restricted free agents. However, they will have arbitration rights, unlike Sandin.

Kase earned 14 goals and 27 points in 50 games this past regular season while Engvall finished with 15 goals and 35 points in 78 outings. After both turned in productive seasons, Toronto will be under a cap crunch to re-sign Sandin and most likely will not be able to afford him.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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9 Responses to Why The Capitals Should Extend An Offersheet To Maple Leafs’ RFA Rasmus Sandin

  1. Anonymous says:

    HOw much would some other Ds be looking for?
    Who will sign Manson?

  2. steven says:

    Nice idea but not worth it either in cap spave or in draft capital. This once again reeks of put a band-aid on an aging team rather than spend the draft capital to get players for a quick rebuild. PK is just about through but if you could sign him for 1 year as a very reasonable price I say go with him. Others for a 1 year deal might be Keddy out of STL (but would be willing to give him 2 years especially in Backy retires), DeKeyser, Chairot or even Maatta or Braun. Klingburh would be really nice and would love to havenim but he is probably looking for a 4 year deal. Wonder what $$$nason is looking for after winning the Cup? Honestly a lot hindges on if Backr retires or wants to come back.

    • Andy says:

      Chiarot doesn’t impress me.
      If we really don’t think Johansen will be ready and worth a shot in training camp I could maybe go for this. I’d rather try to trade for him and pay him closer to $2 million than offer sheet him for $4. The Capitals are always so close to the salary cap they have to do dumb things like trade away Chandler Stephenson. I’d rather the Caps come into the season with a few million to play with rather than be jammed up.

      • steven says:

        Stephenson and Boys adn worst of all Siegenthaler. Its time for a managerial change in the way things are fone here. A new GM, from outside the organization is needed along with new front office staaff and a new HC who can work with young players during a rebuild. I would rather stay inhouse and let players learn and grow than spend money and get kicked out in the first round again. Plus this team may not be so lucky next season as this year they got in as the 2nd wild card and next seaspn they may just be sitting home watching the playoffs. To be honest Idont mind that as it will bring a higher draft pick amd with 6 UFA adn 2 RFA next season there will probablybe a big turnover in players. Sad that we hang unto guys like Carlson and Backy while their value goes down. Hopeful thinking that Backy thinks more of his hip than playing and retires thus allowing this team to really start their rebuild 2- 3 years earlier. Will They be able to sign Orlov next summer? THinking maybe they should trade either him or Carlson to get ahead of the game. I say trade Carlson as Orlov is 2 years younger and you also shed salary and can use some of that to resign Orlov. Ireally dont want to sign any UFA this year and definately not a RFA as then you have yo give up picks and players and this team has none of those to spare. The owner and management needss to look in the mirrow and realize that this team is no longer a Cup contending team and probably not a playoff team. So stor patching things just to try tomake the playoffs and mortgaging the future for NOW!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m onboard with this.

  4. Lewis6kids says:

    If the Caps don’t shed themselves of Backstom’s salary they will not have the resources available for being anything but a .500 team next year.

  5. DWGie26 says:

    Amazing how all of the sudden we went from too deep at LD prospects with Siegs, Fever, Johansson, Alexyev, Nardella, Gessier, and Alexyev, to basically nobody to step in. Hope that doesn’t happen in the forward ranks as we hit the FA market.

    In terms of defense… i prefer to see what LuJo can do and if he ain’t ready then slide TVR back over to the left and sign a 3RD. Hopefully AA get some games late in the season but I imagine there will be no NHL for him this year.

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