Rasmus Andersson could be quietly looked at through the lens of a game-breaker through the first 37 games of the 2022–23 season. In the 2021–22 season, he put up a career year through 82 games on the scoresheet, notching four goals and 50 points. This season, his role has since expanded.
The textbook definition of the term “game-breaker” is essentially a person who makes a significant contribution to a team’s sporting success—someone who can single-handedly take over and control the outcome of a game. In principle, it has been evident that the Calgary Flames have still been collectively searching for one and I think leading a team in game-winning goals does justice to that term, albeit on a quieter scale.
So far this season, Andersson has notched five goals and 21 assists (good for second on the team in this category) for a total of 26 points on the campaign up to this point. Of this subset, four of his goals have been game-winners. Andersson is tied for ninth this season, alongside Josh Morrissey, in regards to the league leaders in game-winning goals on the year. Leon Draisaitl, Sidney Crosby, Brayden Point, Kyle Connor, Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson, Brock Nelson and Jason Robertson are the current ranked top eight league-wide in game-winning goals scored. It should be noted that Rasmus Andersson and Josh Morrissey are the only defenders holding spots inside the top 10.
Rasmus Andersson also ranks fifth league-wide in TOI/GP in all situations averaging around 24:54 on a nightly basis. His accumulated total TOI on the year currently sits at 921:04, just behind Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Adam Fox and Cale Makar.
Andersson’s 5v5 impact
Using charts from HockeyViz.com, it’s seen that Andersson has done a great job at generating high-danger scoring chances off the rush this season. His point totals also evidently back this up. He is simply this team’s best offensive defenceman. His impact is also even more appreciated and favoured in this regard, with Kylington yet to have drawn in a game this season, due to personal reasons.
Defensively, however, it’s been sort of a different story. Looking at data from NaturalStatTrick.com, Andersson has been alongside Noah Hanifin through 36 games this season registering 530:36 in TOI 5v5 as a pair, all while facing 538 chances against and registering 527 chances for. Of that subset, they’ve faced 105 high-danger chances against and generated 116 high-danger chances. Lastly, the pair have faced 252 scoring chances against and have generated 252 scoring chances.
Elevating to new responsibilities
As a whole, Andersson has indeed elevated his role this season and offensively has been a real driver of play from the backend for this team. His impact for the Flames has been as good as anyone could have hoped given the circumstances. Between MacKenzie Weegar not producing as much as expected, and the Flames not having their ideal defence corps due to injuries and the aforementioned absence from Kylington, Andersson has stepped up to fill major voids.
Let’s hope he continues this play through the second half.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire