Prospect: Rasmus Andersson
Hometown: Malmo, Sweden
Acquired: Drafted 53rd Overall in 2015 (Round 2)
Team: Stockton Heat (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 24 GP, 2 G, 14 A, 16 P, 16 PIM, +15
The featured prospect this week is the offensive defender, Rasmus Andersson. Andersson was snagged by the Flames in the second round of the 2015 draft. Between him and Oliver Kylington, the Flames acquired two very talented Swedish defensemen in the 2015 draft that could play a big role in the organization’s future success.
Andersson has been a point producing machine for years. In his draft year, Andersson posted 64 points in 67 games in his first season in North America with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. Very impressive numbers for a defenseman, never mind the fact he had to adjust to the North American game after coming over from Europe. After a great showing in Penticton and at the Calgary camp, he was returned to Barrie for his last OHL season, where he had another terrific season with 60 points in 64 games. He earned accolades for his play in the OHL, being named a First Team All Star. For his conference, he was named the best offensive defenseman and was voted third for hardest shot in the 2015-16 OHL Coaches Poll.
Despite being called out in the summer by Brad Treliving for his conditioning, Andersson’s first year as a professional has gotten off to a great start. For the majority of the season he has played in a top-pairing roll alongside Tyler Wotherspoon and he has greatly excelled. While facing top competition as a 20-year-old AHL rookie, Andersson has managed to post 16 points in 24 games, as his ability to produce points has not disappeared at all through the transition from junior to professional. In an interview with Sportsnet 960, Brad Pascall, who is Assistant General Manager of the Calgary Flames and the guy in charge of taking care of Stockton, said that Andersson’s conditioning has already improved a lot and that Andersson is having immediate success because his vision and offensive instincts are elite. High praise that is being backed up by the volume of points he is producing. He is currently tied for 4th in AHL scoring among rookie defenders, tied for 2nd in assists.
Rasmus Andersson looks to have a bright future in this organization. The current management really believes in him, as they stated that they had him projected in the first round after they got him 53rd overall. The other thing that Andersson really has going for him is that he shoots right-handed. While Dougie Hamilton is a terrific right-shot defenseman, the other two currently in Calgary are Dennis Wideman and Deryk Engelland. It would be fair to consider them to be weaker links on the Calgary D and both of their contracts expire following this season. While we should not expect Andersson to be making the jump as soon as next year, the fact is, there could very well be an opening for him there and if he continues to play as well as he has, he could make some noise. He looks like he will be an NHL player at some point in the future, perhaps a quite good one.