The Nashville Predators are acquiring Rasmus Asplund from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2025 seventh-round pick, per a team announcement. Asplund is playing on an $825k cap hit for the rest of the season, from which point he will be eligible for restricted free agency.
Asplund was the 33rd overall pick at the 2016 draft, impressing scouts due to the fact that he was trusted to play regularly in the SHL for Farjestad at such a young age. Asplund played two more seasons in Sweden before coming over to play for the Sabres’ AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, in 2019-20. He played quite well, scoring 41 points in 75 games, and earned his first NHL call-up the following year.
Last season, Asplund finally emerged as a full-time NHLer, playing in 80 games and scoring 27 points. His energetic play and defensive abilities quickly earned him the trust of head coach Don Granato, who gave the forward over 14 minutes of ice time per night including time on both special teams units.
This season has been a different story, though, as Asplund has frequently been a healthy scratch for the team. While he has remained a contributor on their penalty kill when in the lineup, Asplund has gotten into only 27 games and scored just eight points. He’s played just six games in 2023 and none since February 13th. By moving Asplund to Nashville, the Sabres clear room for their new forward acquisition, Jordan Greenway, and also give Asplund a chance to get a greater opportunity playing for a new club.
While it might be slightly disappointing to receive such a low future draft pick in exchange for a player who once held quite a bit of promise, this season as a whole has been highly encouraging for the Sabres and it’s highly unlikely that this move has any major impact on the team’s chase of a Wild Card spot this season.
For the Predators, this is a savvy move to acquire a player who could thrive in a more regular opportunity in their lineup. Injuries have left the Predators absolutely starved for forward help in recent weeks, and the combination of Asplund’s versatility and defensive ability should make him a regular in the team’s lineup for at least the rest of this season, with the possibility to extend the relationship beyond this season.
While there are some who might prefer that the Predators hold on to every possible draft pick as they head into a rebuild-like direction, taking a flyer on a solid young player like Asplund is definitely a reasonable move to make, especially given the current state of the team’s forward corps.
Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek was first to report the deal.