Player Report Card: Rasmus Asplund

Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Total Season Stats: 29 GP | 1 G | 2 A | 3 PTS (NHL) / 33 GP | 3 G | 16 A | 19 PTS (AHL)

Age: 22

Contract Status: Signed on ELC through 2020-21 season ($845,000)

It feels like Buffalo Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund is on the cusp of making it to the National Hockey League on a full-time basis. He’s so close, but just couldn’t quite get there this season. Asplund was recalled several times to the NHL over the course of the season and bounced back and forth between Buffalo & Rochester, and should compete for a full-time roster spot this fall.

The 22-year-old started off the season with the AHL’s Amerks. He potted two assists in the season opener, but then went pointless for the next four games. He was hot and cold a bit in the beginning, with a three-game point streak, a two-point game in early November and a few short stints where he was held pointless.

In mid-November, Asplund was called up to the NHL for the first time. He made his NHL debut on November 16 in a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators and was impressive:

So impressive, in fact, that he wouldn’t play in Rochester again for a whole two months. Instead, Asplund found himself comfortably on the NHL roster. He potted his first assist in a November 27 game against Calgary, then scored his first NHL goal on December 2 against New Jersey. Overall, he put up three points in 29 games and recorded 36 shots on goal while averaging 10:50 per game.

Asplund was re-assigned to the AHL on January 18, but spent only about two weeks with the Amerks before once again being called up by Buffalo. This time, it was a short stint - just a one-game trip - before he spent the remainder of the season in Rochester.

Asplund averaged 0.57 points per game in the AHL, higher than his average of 0.55 points per game the previous season with Rochester. And, of course, he had the lengthy stint in Buffalo, which gave him a chance to showcase his skills at the highest level - and clearly, Sabres brass thought he did well, since they kept him in the NHL for so long.

So what happens in the fall for Asplund? He’s still on his entry-level contract, and it’s certainly possible that he makes a push for a full-time NHL roster spot from the beginning of the season.

As of this writing, the Sabres have just four forwards secured for next season: Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, Kyle Okposo and Marcus Johansson. Wayne Simmonds, Michael Frolik, Jimmy Vesey, Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson are all set to become unrestricted free agents. Sam Reinhart, Dominik Kahun, Victor Olofsson and Curtis Lazar will all be restricted free agents.

You have to think that much of the decision surrounding where Asplund starts off the regular season rests on how he performs at training camp and in the preseason, as well as how the Sabres are able to re-sign and sign other forwards in the offseason.

Season Grade: B+

Comments

I'm going with a B

Probably wasn’t ready for a full-time NHL job this year but he certainly did well enough to figure that his likely spot will be a solid third-line player with a ceiling as a second liner. With nearly 2/3 of his starts in the defensive zone, he wasn’t exactly eased into an NHL spot and certainly acquitted himself nicely. I’m a fan.

Jeff

If C is ‘met expectations’, then I’ll give him a B- for ‘slightly above expectations but not super impressive’. Was happy to see him earn an extended NHL opportunity, and his future is still bright, but he will need to find more consistency to earn a bigger/full-time role.

Side note: We got all the Rasmuses out of the way early!
Side note 2: I miss the polls that were included with report cards in prior seasons, can we please bring those back?

A slight modifier for potential

Even though he is not a rookie anymore, I still consider him a prospect so I gave him a bit of a bump because there he is most likely an unfinished product.

Excited about this dude

Quick feet and strong on lefts side faceoffs( in past I beleive) could really help the pk and bottom 6 next year. Like that he is feisty and love his skating. Can’t overly judge on points, like in article, as that’s not his ultimate role. Interesting Ralph made him more versatile by learning wing, but the fact he is a passer and a faceoff dude makes me suggest future is at center.

C+

That grotesque NHL shooting percentage is hopefully an aberration.

C, I guess.

He’s a future 4th line C. Hard to get excited about that we we already have one (two?) of those and they’re freely available every offseason. And if he’s going to be more than that, I ask where’s the progression.

Every small improvement counts

to get to excellence. Fancy stats guys and eye test will tell us in next few years if he shows improvement as a faceoff and pk guy.

I'm with Ogre, C

Roster status: On the I-90 yo-yo
Organizational role: JFL backup/replacement

Asplund seems to control play well and have a strong two-way game, that’s a real plus and is usually underrated. But he’s almost certainly not going to score in the NHL. Asplund is 22 years old and has 60 points in 108 AHL games. JFL at that age had 82 points in 120 AHL games, so noticeably higher, and that led to @#$% all in his NHL game. I understand not every player follows the same AHL-to-NHL path, but I wouldn’t count on Asplund for much offense.

That said, I’d still rather be suiting up Asplund than Scott Wilson. Asplund’s shooting percentage will rise. And I’m not yet convinced by Lazar. So he’s still one of my first callups from Rochester for the bottom 6. But if both JFL & Asplund are starting centers out of training camp next year, weep for our playoff chances.

Progression is that he finally got his taste of the NHL. If you can’t see that as progression I dunno what else to say.

That's not personal progression.

That’s opportunity.

Are we grading his production in the AHL and NHL as a whole or just with the Sabres?

Because if it’s NHL I’d say maybe C. Maybe a low grade C+ if you want to be giving.

He had maybe a handful of games where he was good and then his performance just started to take a slight nose dive on a game to game basis.

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