When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Finnish defenceman Mikko Lehtonen earlier this week, it added yet another left-handed shot to the team’s back end.
Lehtonen joins Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin, Travis Dermott, Martin Marincin and rookie Rasmus Sandin on the left side of a crowded blue line, which means someone who’s not used to playing on the right side might have to at some point if the 2019-20 season resumes.
“I don’t mind it at all to be honest,” Sandin said Thursday during an appearance on Good Show. “I think my junior year (with the Soo Greyhounds in the OHL) I played a bit on the right side. Same last year in the AHL, I played a little bit on the right side, so I’m pretty used to playing on my off-side.”
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Tyson Barrie, Justin Holl and Cody Ceci are the only right-shot defencemen currently on the Maple Leafs roster.
“I think some situations it’s a little easier to play on the other side,” Sandin added. “You can one-time passes and stuff like that, so it’s a little easier in some situations.”
The 29th-overall pick from the 2018 draft has had an interesting rookie campaign. The 20-year-old started the season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies where he had 17 points in 21 games, was named top defenceman at the world juniors while representing Sweden and has averaged 14:19 of ice-time in 28 games played with the Maple Leafs.