With the Washington Capitals ousted from playoff contention before the 2022-23 regular season ended, Washington Capitals players have been freed up to join their international squads for the 2023 IIHF World Championship far earlier than most recent years.
Swedish outlet Aftonbladet is reporting that defenseman Rasmus Sandin was invited and will join Team Sweden at the tournament. Sandin will be the only Capital on the roster as Nicklas Backstrom turned an offer from the team down.
Aftonbladet adds that Sandin is the fourth NHL player who will suit up for Tre Kronor when the 2023 tournament kicks off. It will be Sandin’s first-ever experience with Sweden’s senior national team.
“We’ve had discussions about it,” Sandin said last week at Breakdown Day when asked if he would be playing for Sweden. “We’ll see what’s gonna happen. It would definitely be an honor to go play in the World’s. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted here. It’s tough to end the season in mid-April. It would be fun.”
Sandin has previously dressed for Sweden in four different age groups at the international junior level, including two appearances in the World Junior Championship. At the 2020 WJC, Sandin won a bronze medal with Sweden and placed fifth in the tournament in overall scoring with 10 points (3g, 7a) from seven games.
The 23-year-old smooth-skating defenseman has had quite an interesting year. He started the season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that drafted him 29th overall in 2018 and finished the season with the Capitals after a trade deadline move.
“It was a weird year,” Sandin said. “Had a pretty decent start, little slow couple first games. Got into it pretty good and got here. It was very exciting. Coming to a new team, new city. I fell in love with it pretty quick. It’s been a hectic year, a lot of things have happened, but it’s been a lot of fun too.”
Sandin got into 19 games for the Caps after the trade and recorded 15 points (3g, 12a) which is an absurd 64-point pace from the backend over a full, 82-game season. With veteran defenseman John Carlson out of the lineup for the beginning portion of those games, Sandin also skated some of the most minutes in the entire NHL. He finished the season second on the team behind just Carlson by 24 seconds in average time on ice per game.
The young blueliner has been spotted around his old team in recent days as he went back to Toronto to collect more of his belongings. He was spotted watching Maple Leafs practice and chatting with team management as the Leafs prepared for their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Sandin sat with former Capitals center Michael Nylander and Nylander’s son Alex as the three watched William Nylander play in Toronto’s 7-3 losing effort in Game One on Tuesday.
— BarDown (@BarDown) April 19, 2023
Aftonbladet adds that the Swedish players Sandin will join at the tournament are Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson, Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin, and Detroit’s Lucas Raymond. The action kicks off on May 12 and will be held co-hosted by Finland and Latvia.
Sweden was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2022 tournament.
4/26 update: The Capitals have confirmed that Sandin will join Team Sweden for the tournament.
Here’s the full press release.
Rasmus Sandin to Represent Sweden at 2023 IIHF World Championship
ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals defenseman Rasmus Sandin will represent Sweden at the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland and Latvia, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Sandin, 23, recorded a career-high 35 points (7g, 28a) in 71 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Capitals this season. The 5’11”, 182-pound defenseman recorded 15 points (3g, 12a) in 19 games with Washington after being acquired from Toronto on Feb. 28, including three assists in his Capitals debut on March 4 at San Jose. Sandin became the first defenseman and seventh skater in franchise history to record three points in his first game with Washington and required the fewest games (7 GP) for a defenseman to reach 10 points in franchise history. Sandin set career highs in games played (71), goals (7), assists (28) and points (35) in 2022-23, more than doubling his previous career-high point total (2021-22: 16p). In addition, Sandin ranked second on the Capitals in time on ice per game (22:59) and third in points (15) over Washington’s final 19 regular-season games.
In 159 career NHL games with Toronto and Washington, Sandin has recorded 63 points (13g, 50a).
Sandin previously represented Sweden at the 2019 and 2020 World Junior Championships, earning a bronze medal in 2020. The Uppsala, Sweden native recorded 10 points (3g, 7a) in seven games during the 2020 tournament, which led all defensemen and was named the tournament’s top defenseman. Sandin also participated in the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, helping Sweden to the bronze medal, and captained Sweden to the gold medal at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
VM-klara NHL-spelare 💥
Förbundskapten Sam Hallam kan idag presentera att Jakob Silfverberg (Anaheim), Lucas Raymond (Detroit), Jonatan Berggren (Detroit), Rasmus Sandin (Washington) och Alexander Nylander (Pittsburgh) är klara för hockey-VM i Finland. 🏒🇸🇪 pic.twitter.com/h7ADn0ymDc
— Tre Kronor (@Trekronorse) April 26, 2023
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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