#4 - Rasmus Andersson
Team: Calgary Flames (NHL)
Drafted in 2015, 2nd Round, Pick 53
Last Year’s Ranking: #7
Heading into 2018-19 not much was known about what the plan would be for Rasmus Andersson for the season. He came out and had a really good training camp, making the team and getting into the lineup on the defensive core. From there we really saw Andersson improve as the season continued, looking especially comfortable on all-rookie pairings with Juuso Valimaki and Oliver Kylington at different times. It’s pretty rare for all rookie pairings to find success, but that’s what happened for the most part with Andersson being the regular.
As the season continued and Andersson improved, he began getting ice time on the top pairing with Mark Giordano who was well on his way to winning the Norris trophy. Of course anyone who has played with Giordano has seen their play improve, but Andersson looked to mesh really well with the Flames captain. He played so well in fact that up until the Juuso Valimaki injury, he had made T.J. Brodie expendable as a trade chip.
However due to the aforementioned Valimaki injury, Andersson will likely find himself on the third pairing this year with Oliver Kylington or another defender if the Flames bring someone in. He could end up on the top pairing for some time as well like last year. Andersson has really given a lot of reason for optimism and as he’s heading into a contract year, it would make a lot of sense for the Flames to lock him up with some term.
With 19 points in his rookie year, and most coming in the second half of the season, he looks like he could really take off as he continues to discover implementing his offensive side at the NHL level. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get 30-35 points this year.
What do you think of Andersson’s final ranking?
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