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When Sweden’s top offensive threat, William Nylander, was concussed in the first game of the World Junior Championships it created an opportunity for another young prospect to step up and show off his skills. Rasmus Asplund stepped into the top line centre role and impressed, scoring three goals and five points in seven games during the tournament. He had previous international experience at the Under 18 level, when he captained Team Sweden and scored three goals and five points in five games at the 2015 IIHF U20 World Championships. He has also represented his country at the four nations, five nations, Ivan Hlinka, and World Under 17 Hockey Challenge tournaments over the last two years. Asplund has been playing hockey for Fargestad BK in the SHL, showing his skills against men over the last two seasons. While he has not put up a lot of points, he also has not looked out of place, playing a roll in the team’s top nine. His 12 points in 46 games is actually a respectable number for a player his age in Sweden’s top hockey league.
Rasmus Asplund Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #26
Center/Left Winger — shoots Left
Born Dec 3 1997 — Filipstad, SWE
Height 5’10” — Weight 176 lbs [178 cm / 80 kg]
Rasmus Asplund has shown to be a strong skater. His speed and acceleration can give defenders problems on the rush, and his agility adds another layer to that. He can make a quick cut to get by a defender on the inside, or take a defender wide, drop his shoulder and accelerate to the net. Asplund also shows impressive lower body strength and balance, as he skates through checks, and is difficult to knock off the puck. He will need to continue to add weight to play this style of game in North America.
Rasmus Asplund shows a good variety of offensive tools. His stick handling and good balance allows him to create plays off the cycle game. He has a good variety of shots, showing a quick release, and heavy shot with his wrist shot and snap shot, as well as good accuracy on his one-timer. Asplund reads the defence well and can find soft spots to get open and get his shot off. Asplund can be a playmaker by slowing the game down and drawing in defenders, allowing his teammates to find open space and create scoring chances. He has good vision and excellent hockey sense as he almost always makes the right play with the puck. Asplund is a hard working forward who uses his speed to get in quickly on the forecheck and create pressure on opposing defenders. When he creates turnovers, he can quickly turn those into offence.
For such a young player, Asplund’s defensive game is well developed. He is strong in the faceoff circle, getting low to the ice and winning draws with both his quick reflexes as well as with leverage and strength. He reads the play well defensively, allowing him to provide support to the defence, and cut off passing and shooting lanes. While he is not a big hitter; Asplund is a willing and conscientious backchecker, willing to get involved in the physical battles for loose pucks.
Asplund can be an effective two-way centre if he can continue to develop. His speed is a real asset and his offensive skill set is good. He does a lot of things well, but if there is a criticism, it is that he does not do anything at an elite level. He projects as a second or third line centre at the next level. Rasmus Asplund’s style is similar to Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent level.
The following are highlights of Rasmus Asplund, compiled from youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #27 Prospect on our NHL Draft Board