Our annual Top 25 Under 25 series serves to find the best young players in the Buffalo Sabres organization, be it NHL, AHL, European or junior leagues. We voted on everyone from Asplund to Willman, and the best 25 players get profiled throughout the month of September. Today's subject: Rasmus Asplund.
Rasmus Asplund, C/LW
Age: 18 Height: 5'11'' Weight: 176 lbs.
One of the youngest players on this list, Rasmus Asplund was drafted this year by the Sabres with the 33rd overall pick. The team liked him so much that they traded up to get him, and it's easy to see why. While he doesn't have the greatest height or body size, Asplund has an elite hockey IQ that has allowed him to play as a two-way center in the Swedish pro leagues as a teenager.
Aside from his vision and brains, Asplund's next best attribute is his speed, something the Sabres are getting more and more of each year. There aren't any major weaknesses in Asplund's game, aside from strength, but rather he does everything well.
His point totals in the SHL don't look so great, but remember, those are numbers for a 16 or 17-year old playing against grown men. If point totals are what you're looking for, take a look at Asplund's production in his many international competitions, in which he's more than once served as captain of Sweden's youth teams. Those stat lines give you a better idea of how the young center produces against competition his own age, which looks far more favorable.
Speaking of international competition, Asplund played on Sweden's 2016 World Junior team and centered a line alongside...Alex Nylander, who the Sabres drafted #8 overall, and who will be making an appearance later on this list.
Asplund will most likely be staying in Sweden for one more year to continue to work on his strength and consistency playing in the SHL before coming to North America.