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Maple Leafs, RFA defenceman Rasmus Sandin agree on two-year, US$2.8-million contract

TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin (38) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, in Detroit. The Leafs have signed Sandin to a two-year contract extension, the club announced on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Duane Burleson

TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The deal will pay the 22-year-old Swedish defenceman, who was a restricted free agent and missed the start of training camp, an average of US$1.4 million per season.

Sandin returns to the fold at a time when the Leafs have been bitten by the blue-line injury bug.

"Really good player," said Morgan Rielly, one of Toronto's healthy defencemen. "He's a big part of our group. We're excited to get him back."

Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia, while Jake Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue. 

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday's 3-0 pre-season victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.

Leafs captain John Tavares (oblique strain) and winger Pierre Engvall (foot/ankle) are also on the shelf.

Muzzin, who missed the entire 2005-06 junior season following back surgery, said the current issue is one he's dealt with over his career.

"You play a long time, a lot of games ... stuff adds up and builds up," he said. "It's something we've managed really good for a long time.

"We have to just continue with it."

The 29th overall selection at the 2018 NHL draft, Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with the Leafs in 2021-22.

A bronze medallist at the 2020 world junior hockey championship, Sandin has six goals and 22 assists through 88 regular-season games with the Leafs. He's added a goal in five career playoff appearances.

"Got a great set of tools," Muzzin said of Sandin. "With experience, I think they're only going to get better."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

The Canadian Press