According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, the Philadelphia Flyers will be signing Swedish Hockey League (SHL) forward Linus Sandin to an entry-level contract once this season concludes. Johnston notes that Sandin hasn’t officially signed the deal yet, but the Swede has decided to become a member of the Orange and Black over some other NHL clubs.
Swedish forward Linus Sandin intends to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers -- although he can't officially do so until the NHL finalizes new international transfer agreements.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 23, 2020
Sandin was one of the SHL's top scorers with 19 goals for HV71 last season and had multiple NHL offers.
Sandin, the older brother of Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman Rasmus Sandin, is a 23-year-old right winger who stands at 6’1” weighing 209 pounds. His 19 goals in 51 games led HV71 while his 36 points was good enough for second on the team behind d-man Johannes Kinnvall. For a little more context on those numbers the league had a total of two 20-goal scorers and six players (including Sandin) to post 19 goals or more, while his 36 points placed him in a tie for 16th in the league. This season marked a third straight season of improved point totals for Sandin in the SHL as he had 23 points in 50 games with Rogle BK last season and seven points in 42 tilts for the same team in 2017-18. On top of his points the forward managed to post a 52.01 Corsi-For percentage and 50.82 Fenwick for percentage this season.
Sandin was able to lead HV71 in goals and finish top ten in goal scoring with a decent chunk of his limited ice time coming on the power play. Looking at his ice time totals this season Sandin sees a fair amount of 5-on-5 shifts nightly (12:29 average 5-on-5 ice time per game was seventh among HV71 forwards this season), but his 2:59 of power-play ice time a game was second to only Alexander Bergstrom. This helped him total four goals on 17 shots on the man advantage in 2019-20 with 13 helpers as well. Even though he evidently didn’t kill penalties all that much this season it’s worth pointing out Sandin averaged 1:08 of penalty-killing time a night with Rogle BK in 2018-19.
Along with his point and ice time totals Sandin’s shooting percentage and PDO help to paint his season a little better. After a he season where he potted 16 tallies on 88 shots on net for an 18.18 shooting percentage, Sandin managed to put 19 in the back of the net on 86 shots for a total of 22.1 percent of his shots tickling twine. If that sounds pretty high it’s because it is, as only four players who participated in 40 games or more this season connected on more of their shots. Based on the high shooting percentage and the fact that he didn’t miss the net a lot this season (sixth-most missed shots on HV71 with 67, which put him in a tie for 76th in the SHL) there might be some concerns about him being able to repeat his production while throwing so few pucks towards the opposing net. However since he’s posted back-to-back campaigns with similar point totals while playing similar minutes perhaps he is a successfully selective shooter rather than a lucky one.
Another reason his shooting percentage over the last two seasons may be high is the fact he loves to crash the crease. Based on Alexander Appleyard of The Athletic’s analysis, and the limited highlights we have above, Sandin’s style of play is all about going to the blue paint and looking to do work.
With his production and playing style out of the way the question becomes where does he fit in the organization for the 2020-21 season. Thanks to the signings of Tanner Laczynski and Wade Allison the Lehigh Valley Phantoms already have 11 forwards locked up for next season with both Mikhail Vorobyev and Nathan Noel being restricted free agents at the end of this season. Based on how well he did in the SHL this season and how many forwards the Phantoms are already committed to next year it’s unlikely Sandin is coming over just to compete for a spot in the league below the NHL.
If he’s in the NHL Sandin will most likely be playing in the bottom six. The group of Tyler Pitlick, Derek Grant, and Nate Thompson are all set to be unrestricted free agents while Nicolas Aube-Kubel is a restricted free agent. Since NAK isn’t going anywhere and it feels as though both Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost should be regulars in 2020-21, that would leave Sandin battling against the trio of Pitlick, Grant, and Thompson for one roster spot. Based on the fact both Grant and Thompson are centers it might be Sandin squaring off against Pitlick. However it works out it’s never a bad thing to have competition among roster spots.
*Stats via Elite Prospects and the SHL’s official website