Murray Pam of Sporting News Canada is reporting that Toronto Maple Leafs first-round pick Rasmus Sandin will not return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL next season, and is currently with Rogle of the SHL preparing for the season. The Maple Leafs could still assign Sandin to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies if they chose to, because the 18-year old defenseman was playing on loan to the CHL.
Toronto brought top pick Timothy Liljegren over right away and allowed him to play all season in the AHL last year, and could potentially do the same with their latest first rounder. That would allow the two to potentially play together on a Calder Cup-winning squad, but may block Sandin from receiving the same type of minutes that he would in the SHL. The Marlies currently project to have some combination of Martin Marincin, Calle Rosen, Andreas Borgman and Andrew Nielsen on the left side this season, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for Sandin to play big minutes.
- HC Slovan Bratislava of the KHL have signed Jeff Taffe, the epitome of a professional hockey journeyman. Taffe, 37, played pro for more than a decade in North America, suiting up for 180 NHL games split between the then-Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild before heading overseas to play in Europe and the KHL. He’s played in the SHL, KHL and NLA the last few seasons and will return to Slovakia to suit up for Slovan Bratislava this season. Once a first-round pick by the St. Louis Blues, Taffe has always been an incredibly talented offensive performer in the minor leagues and internationally, and will try to continue that at his advanced age in the KHL.
- Speaking of HC Slovan, Ryan Garbutt won’t be playing for them again this season after signing in Germany’s DEL. Garbutt, a veteran of over 300 NHL contests, played for three different KHL teams last season after failing to find a job in North America. Once a 17-goal man for the Dallas Stars, the offense dried up for Garbutt fairly quickly and he found himself in the minor leagues for a good chunk of the 2016-17 season. At 33, it seems unlikely he’ll make a return to the NHL and will finish his career with 87 career points.