It was less than 365 days ago that Rasmus Asplund was playing his final game of the season with Färjestad of the Swedish Hockey League. Safe to say it’s been a busy year for the 21-year-old, who’s now a few weeks away from completing his first season in North America.
Asplund made his North American debut on October 5 and registered his first AHL point just a few days later, notching an assist on a goal by Alexander Nylander. He found the back of the net himself about a month later, scoring a goal and adding an assist against the Hartford Wolf Pack on November 18.
It’s been a season and ups and downs for Asplund and the Amerks, who are now sitting atop the AHL’s North Division with 81 points, one point ahead of the Syracuse Crunch. The Amerks are second overall in the league, four points behind the Charlotte Checkers.
”The whole team is playing good,” Asplund said after a recent weekend when Rochester swept three games against Bridgeport and Binghamton. “It’s easy to ride the wave when the team is playing good.”
Asplund certainly has had no trouble riding the wave, that’s for sure. He’s now on a three-game point streak after putting up seven points (3-4) in those last three games. Overall, Asplund has registered at least a point in five of his last six games and six of his last eight.
He’s found chemistry centering a line with wingers Victor Olofsson, who is also in his first season in North America, and Danny O’Regan. The three combined have 119 points on the season, including Asplund’s 29 points in 61 games.
His current three-game point streak is his longest this season to date. The Amerks have 15 games left on the season - 12 of which are against divisional opponents - so it’s definitely the right time for Asplund to find his game and get hot.
Defenseman Lawrence Pilut has spent some time on the ice this season with Asplund and has seen the growth in the 21-year-old’s game.
”I think he plays with a lot of confidence,” Pilut said. “I think he really takes control of his game and plays with so much poise out there. It’s just amazing to see. He’s been growing a lot lately.”
Asplund was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with the 33rd overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He signed his entry-level contract on May 23, 2018, after registering 28 points (8-20) in 50 games during his fourth season with Färjestad BK, and spent some time in Buffalo during camp over the summer.
Asplund, touted as a hard-working, two-way player, will continue to grow within the Sabres organization if given the right opportunities. Playing alongside guys like Olofsson and O’Regan, and with players like Pilut, will put him in a position to succeed, which is exactly what Sabres fans - and Amerks fans - should want for the young forward.