2015-16 Team: Farjestads BK (#74)
Date of Birth: December 3, 1997
Place of Birth: Filipstad, Sweden
Ht: 5’10” Wt: 175 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 first-year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking: 34th (June)
- THW Alternate: 25th (June)
- THW War Room: 35th (May)
- Future Considerations: 26th (June)
- ISS: unranked (June)
- Bob McKenzie: 31st (June)
- Craig Button: 36th (June)
What’s the value of pro experience? That’s the main question that determines the value of Swedish forward Rasmus Asplund. One of two first-year eligible players with the exact same name – the other is a defenseman born a month later – Asplund has really impressed with his poise and his ability to keep pace with veterans in the highly skilled Swedish Hockey League.
In essence, Asplund has opened a ton of eyes by playing against grown men and not standing out. His numbers aren’t gaudy, but he’s spent two seasons in the SHL with Farjestads BK – Hakan Loob’s team – and has been one of the youngest players on the team. He doesn’t get a ton of ice-time, but he manages to put points on the board. When he plays with his peer group, he really stands out and showed that his skill-set is unique in that he can play with some truly elite players without dragging them down – and at times he even helped elevate them. He’s been a strong contributor at every level he’s played at and he’s shown considerable year-over-year progression.
That said, Asplund isn’t huge and doesn’t play particularly physical, so there’s some questions regarding whether he could withstand the physicality of the smaller North American rinks. But he’s a good enough hockey player as a teenager to play a regular shift in the SHL and if he can continue to adapt, his skills would make him quite valuable to an NHL club.
NHL Draft Projection:
Asplund is part of the big cluster of players that could go anywhere from the late first round (25th or so) until the early second (40th overall or so).
“One of Sweden’s better players at the world juniors, Asplund centered the second line with Alexander Nylander (2016) and Dmytro Timashov (Toronto) on his wings. That unit played more like the first line, leading the Tre Kronor in scoring with 21 points in seven games. Coach Rikard Gronborg loved Asplund’s smarts and all-around game and despite being one of the youngest on the squad, Asplund almost made the team last year. The lessons from his late cut before Toronto were important.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
“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.” – Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
- Strong skater.
- Good hockey sense and decision-making in all three zones.
- Effective at faceoffs.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- Needs to physically fill out a bit.
- Doesn’t play particularly mean or physical.
- Probably needs to accelerate his decision-making to succeed on the smaller ice.
Asplund projects as a second or third line center, somewhat like Mikael Backlund.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offense 8/10, Defense 8/10
Asplund was captain of Sweden’s entries at the World Under-18 Championship and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He also represented Sweden at the World Juniors.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.