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Photo Credit: Stan Szeto / USA Today Sports

Prospect wrap-up: Rasmus Andersson

The 2016 season started out pretty poorly for Rasmus Andersson, who was singled out at the end of development camp for poor conditioning.

By the end of it, he had racked up a solid first professional season, an extended stay with the big club, and an NHL game. He could arguably be considered the Flames’ #1 prospect.

Safe to say that 2016-17 has been a major success for the young Swede.

Brief history

Rasmus has been a force to be reckoned with no matter where he’s been. At 15, he was scoring over two points per game in Sweden’s U16 league, a point per game in the U18 league, and made a few appearances for the U20 team. At 16, he was playing in Sweden’s second division. Great performances domestically and internationally led to major interest, being picked in the KHL draft and the CHL import draft.

He chose the CHL route, heading to the OHL’s Barrie Colts, and did not regret a second of it. In his rookie year, he finished third in defenceman scoring, earned an appearance at the CHL top prospects game, and a nod for the OHL second all-star team. He was drafted by the Flames in the second round of that year’s draft, their first pick in that draft. In his sophomore season, he dominated once again. He finished first in the OHL for defenceman scoring and points-per-game, was named to the first all-star team.

2016-17 performance

GP-G-A-P Primary points 5v5 P1 NHLe
54-3-19-22 9 6 16.04

Seventeen of his 22 points came from 5v5 play. He may not be a primary driver (which really isn’t his job, as a defenceman), but he’s still a great provider at 5v5.

This chart doesn’t look great for Andersson, but there’s some things to consider. Firstly, he’s no longer a 19-year-old in the OHL, where points come easy, so comparing his current NHLe to his D+1 NHLe isn’t exactly a fair comparison. In his first pro season, he still put up better results than most veterans did on the team.

Secondly, the steady nosedive correlates to the Heat’s losing streak during the season, something that was just ending when Andersson was called up to the Flames. If he hadn’t been with the big club, his numbers probably would’ve rebounded like everyone else’s did.

Quotable

As always, we turn to friend of the blog and Stockton Heat play-by-play man Brandon Kisker for his take on Andersson’s season. First off, what other areas can he improve in to make that next step to the NHL?

I really like Rasmus’ game and I think he’s been consistently one of our better defenders all year. He’s smart with his decisions and with the puck and he’s steady. Very consistent. As far as I can tell, just improving his foot speed, getting bigger, faster, stronger like every other young prospect is what he needs to do. Apart from Brett Kulak and Tyler Wotherspoon, I see Andersson as one of the most complete players on the blueline that Stockton had all season long.

He’s always had great offensive capabilities – where could his ceiling potentially be?

I think Rasmus could easily be a top pairing defenseman at the NHL level. He’s a fun prospect to watch and the fact he stuck around in Calgary as long as he did (even if he didn’t play) is a testament to him as a player. If he can improve his speed and get a little bigger, I see Rasmus making the jump to the NHL sooner rather than later.

Final thoughts

Andersson ticks a lot of the boxes the Flames are looking for on defence this offseason: big, right-handed, and offensively gifted.

He’s going to get a strong look at next year’s training camp. I can’t say if he makes the cut this early, but depending on how free agency breaks, there’s a possibility that the Flames may need him to immediately step into a 5/6 spot next year. A bold prediction would be that he slots in immediately next to T.J. Brodie to start the season.

It’s really hard to read the tea leaves right now. Until things start happening, we have no idea how the defence will look next year and what spots will be available. Though if Andersson can feasibly be in that discussion (you figure that the Flames recalling and keeping him around for a month is a tell that they think of him highly) it’s nothing but good news.

Previously

Kenney Morrison, Tyler Wotherspoon, Oliver Kylington, Stepan Falkovsky, Keegan Kanzig/Mason McDonald, Ryan Culkin/Brett Pollock, Mitchell Mattson, Adam Fox, Brandon HickeyRiley Bruce/Nick Schneider, Tyler Parsons, Eetu Tuulola, Matt Phillips, Dillon Dube, Adam Ollas Mattsson, Linus Lindstrom, Pavel Karnaukhov/Rushan Rafikov, Tim Harrison

  • supra steve

    Not sure if Ras is ready for top 4 NHL duty yet, history would dictate he probably is not. However, if he were to get a look in the top 4, might be wise to pair him with Gio, who has the experience to pass on to the kid that Brodie can’t match. Brodie/Hamilton would be an interesting experiment as well.

  • freethe flames

    Ras has the potential to be a difference maker in the direction this team takes as early as next year. If he has a great off season he could force the coaches hand; if he could push for a job in the top 4 he could help the PP. Even if he is a 5/6 he could play on the PP.

  • Baalzamon

    He also played about 30 minutes per game his last year in the OHL and was easily Barrie’s #1 offensive weapon from the blueline. This year he had competition and acquitted himself rather well.

    Always been a fan, and I have no doubt he’ll make an impact at the next level.

    Interesting to note about this year, is he actually had a low shooting % (below 4%). Considering what we know about his shooting ability (and keeping in mind that he does tend to shoot from further away than, say, Kylington does), it’s reasonable to say his goal totals are likely deflated. Which bodes well for next year.

  • BurningSensation

    I have Andersson higher in my prospect rankings than Kyllington. He is less erratic defensively, right handed, and has better offensive tools. Kyllington is the better skater, and might have a higher ceiling, but still has a ways to go to catch Andersson.

    If PhatRas can get himself in game shape, he could be a blue line stud.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I have always felt that Ras has the highest ceiling among defensive prospects. I am intrigued by players that can excel in a sport at a high level without the standard training and diet commitments. While this may show red flags for some prospects it demonstrates greater potential in others.

    If players like Ras and Johhny can play the game at their levels without the recommended fitness and diet, just imagine where the can take their game. Ras needs to work on his explosiveness, no different then Drai, Jamie Benn, Mark Stone etc. By following a rigorous training program supported with good eating habits he will get there.

    The same applies to Johnny in regards to putting on more muscle mass while maintaining his quickness. He would be wise to follow Gallaghers diet and training programs. I have noticed that the league allows a lot of cross checking during board battles which will always be a challenge for players who are slight in stature.

    I think Calgary will need to push its prospects into the NHL to stay cost compliant. I can’t see a player like Ras not being able to win a spot over some of our current defenders.

  • Franko J

    There is a prime opportunity for him to make the team next season out of training camp. Hopefully he realizes that there is spot on the blue line for the taking. Like Treliving has reiterated in the past the only way an organization becomes better if the players within the system take it upon themselves to improve. All it comes down to is he ready to put in the work this off season.

  • jakethesnail

    Kicker says he needs to Improve his speed and size…sigh! Hope he makes the flames next season.
    The month spent with the team should give him a head start at training camp.