Toronto Maple Leafs Give Monster Defenseman a Tryout

The Toronto Maple Leafs have given prospect Eemeli Rasanen a tryout with the Toronto Marlies.

Rasanen is a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick from 2017, where they picked him in the second round, 59th overall. (hockeydb.com)

Unlike many of the Leafs other prospects, who tend towards the small/skilled type, Rasanen is an absolute monster.  He is 6’7, which makes him probably 6’9 on skates, and 225 lbs.

After two years in the OHL, where he played with the Kingston Frontenacs, Rasanen went to the KHL this season, although it appears that he did not play in many games, due to injury.

He will join the Marlies for the rest of this year.

Rasanen

According to a Sportsnet article from last year that quotes him, Rasanen moved to the KHL because he needed tougher games than junior could provide.

With his injury and lack of playing time, that didn’t seem to work out so hot, but he’s back now.  When you draft a player, you have two years to sign him, but apparently, going to the KHL has given the Leafs an extension.

This means that the Leafs can remain flexible. They currently have 47 contracts out of the 50 limit, and now they can use Rasanen without committing to him.

If it turns out he can play, then they can sign him when necessary.

Rasanen will join the recently signed Joseph Duszak on the Marlies.  Along with Mac Hollowell, the three players make up three right-handed defenseman who the Leafs have recently signed or given a PTO to.

Along with Timothy Liljegren, they’re starting to build up quite a bit of depth at a position that has been weak at the NHL level recently.

Rasanen provides one thing these guys do not: size.  Will he ever play in the NHL?  Can he skate a professional level?  These are the questions people ask about Rasanen, and at this point we just don’t know.

That’s partly why the Leafs only gave him a PTO (the other part is that they don’t have to sign him and can still use him).  But even though he’s too raw to know how much fans should get excited about him, his size is just too awesome to pass up.

6’7 puts him the Zdeno Chara range.  Not quite as big, but still up there.  Chara was a third round pick who no one thought would make the league. He’s going to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame about five or ten  years from now, and so it pays to take a chance on guys of this size.

Next: Toronto Maple Leafs Top 10 Prospects

Sure, there’s almost no chance Rasanen turns into Chara, but there’s no risk here for the Leafs and if he can even play in the NHL at all he’ll be an absolute weapon.

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