Rasmus Asplund was at home in Sweden in July when, over the course of a week, general manager Kevyn Adams replenished the Buffalo Sabers’ roster that finished last in the National Hockey League.
Asplund studied the significant additions and departures of former franchise stalwarts Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen, to see if there was a vacancy that matched his talents. One of them immediately stood out for Asplund: clear ahead on the power play.
“You just need an opportunity and when you get it you have to grab it,” said Asplund, a 23-year-old winger, in a pragmatic manner.
That was Asplund’s mentality long before he was drafted in the second round, 33rd overall, by the Sabers in 2016. When Asplund joined the Americans from Rochester three years ago, he was ready to do anything. what was asked of him and, along with Victor Olofsson, had to be taken off the ice long after training was over because he didn’t want to stop working.
An assignment to the taxi team in January 2020 also didn’t derail Asplund’s development. He used the breakout training sessions to prepare for the day he would be needed on the Sabers roster. When that moment came, Asplund never gave up his place and he is now one of coach Don Granato’s most reliable strikers.
In 11 games this season, Asplund has registered four goals and six assists for a record 10 points. His six-game run with at least one point is the best of his young career and he has totaled eight points during that time. Asplund’s average ice time of 5:40 pm per game is also second among all of the Sabers forwards. He scored evenly, working in front of the net on the power play and shorthanded. His improvement is important for a franchise that needs talented young forwards who match Adams’ vision for the Sabers on the ice and in the locker room.