24-year-old Swede fizzled offensively this season, but still shows promise after World Championship
Our 2022 Buffalo Sabres report cards move along as we focus on forward Rasmus Asplund.
Total Season Stats: 80 GP | 8 G | 19 A | 27 PTS
Contract Status: Signed through 2022-2023 ($825,000/season), RFA after that
As most may remember, the drafted-center-but-mostly-winger was selected by the Sabres in the 2nd round of the 2016 NHL draft. His entry-level contract began in 2018 with the intention of developing in Rochester, respectively. His NHL debut then came during the 2019-2020 season (yikes) and he appeared to do well later on under the direction of newly-appointed head coach Don Granato. Specifically, at the end of the 2020-2021 season, he tallied 10 points (six goals and four assists) in 23 games.
Though Rasmus Asplund has been on the Sabres roster for a few years now, this past season was his first [almost] full one in blue and gold with 80 games played, so fans could really get a feel for how effective (or ineffective) he can be offensively.
While I do believe there is talent here, Asplund, unfortunately, went a very long stretch without finding the back of the net this season (46 games to be exact). He seemed to start out hot in the fall with five of his eight goals occurring during the months of October and November, but then only contributed assists here and there until almost April. Obviously, everyone on the team cannot be a goal scorer, but I personally was expecting a bit more from Asplund. His point total is not bad and does show promise now that he has the experience of a full NHL season behind him. Also, sticking to the positive, he remained healthy, had consistent playing time, and displayed a hard work ethic. His average time on ice for the season was 14:21 and he was juggled around just a little bit but spent most of his time in the bottom six playing consistently with pal Victor Olofsson.
It is also worth noting that following the regular NHL season, he participated in the Ice Hockey World Championship (aka IIHF) in Finland during the latter half of May and really shined offensively. Representing Sweden with teammate Rasmus Dahlin, Asplund had several multi-goal games and contributed six goals in six games during the preliminary round – ranking second in the tournament only to Pierre-Luc Dubois, who had seven goals. He led his team in ice time with an average of about 24 minutes.
Nylander ➡️ Asplund
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 22, 2022
In summary, while his lack of NHL goals is not overly impressive, this is not totally alarming since his salary is a drop in the bucket. Asplund does have one more season under contract with the Sabres. We have too many mediocre players for us to re-sign him at a super high price after 2023, so it will be interesting to see if his success at the World Championship will carry over into the upcoming NHL season.
In response to that success, Asplund said, “I want to do my job out there. I want to be a hard-working guy.”
Time will tell.
Season Grade: C+