An injury on the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ back end will prompt the team’s management to rethink letting one of their defence prospects play in the upcoming world junior championship.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported on Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada that the team was weighing whether to release Rasmus Sandin to play for Sweden at the holiday tournament.
But the Leafs may need Sandin on their NHL roster sooner rather than later after Toronto defenceman Tyson Barrie was hurt in the first period Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
“Because of this injury now, they’re going to have to revisit where they’re at with Sandin,” Johnston said.
Barrie blocked a shot midway through the first and went right to the dressing room. He tried to test his ankle out shortly after, but wasn’t able to continue.
The 28-year-old, who had been playing well of late under new head coach Sheldon Keefe, had three goals and 10 assists this season.
Sandin, 19, played six games earlier this season with the Maple Leafs but was sent down to the minors in order to get more playing time.
He has thrived in his second AHL season, scoring two goals and 10 assists in 18 games for the Marlies.
Toronto let Sandin play for Sweden at last year’s world juniors and he thrived, scoring two goals and two assists in five games before his country was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Earlier this month, Sportsnet’s Mike Shulman spoke to Sandin about the possibility of playing for Sweden once again.
“That’d be, first, a lot of fun. I mean, it’s always an honour, as I said, of playing for your country,” Sandin said. “So going to play there, I think we could have a really good team this year and, yeah, obviously would be a lot of fun and a big honour again.”