By Erica Whyte
Through his first 20 professional games in North America, 21-year-old Rasmus Asplund tallied only four points. Through the final 20 games of his rookie season, he notched 21 points, solidifying himself as the Amerks Most Improved Player and Rookie of the Year for the 2019-19 season.
“I’ve had a really good season. My development has been really great here and Chris (Amerks head coach Chris Taylor) has been awesome to me and done a really good job with me,” reflected the Filipstad, Sweden, native on his first season in North America.
“I worked really hard all year, and coach and I had really good talks about how I need to keep going because the ball would start rolling for me soon,” he continued, elaborating on initial frustration that he wasn’t showing up on the scoresheet. “And it did. So that made me trust him even more. I think I just got more comfortable out there and knew the game a little more, but I don’t think I changed much.”
With 41 points (10+31) in 75 games, Asplund led all Amerks rookies in goals, assists and points, and was a key component to the Amerks top offensive line alongside Victor Olofsson and Danny O’Regan. Together, the trio put up 60 goals and were consistent contributors to the Amerks success all year long.
WATCH: RASMUS ASPLUND YEAR-END INTERVIEW
“As soon as we started to play with each other, we felt that click,” the forward said of his linemates. “We really started to get closer to each other and closer as friends. I think that was a huge part of that, too, because then you can start to put pressure on each other.”
“We talked a lot to each other about talking to each other. Like, if you feel something, or if you want to do something, tell everybody so we can do it or try it or discuss it,” he continued of the trio’s communication skills. “We talked a lot out there, and we talked a lot in the locker room, too, to improve our game. We knew that we could make each other so much better and help each other with our careers, so I think we did a really good job at that.”
In addition to being linemates, a special bond was formed between Asplund and Olofsson.
“We’ve been on the same journey here. We came over here, first year, and it started when we had to find an apartment,” Asplund said of his roommate Olofsson. “We had to help each other, and we speak the same language and all that, so it helped a lot.”
“It’s tough, moving to another country, or another city, where they don’t speak the language you’re used to, so just to have each other and know that he has my back and I have his back if we need help with anything was huge.”
WATCH: RASMUS ASPLUND YEAR IN REVIEW WITH ERICA WHYTE
In terms of summer plans, Asplund is looking to get into the gym to work on his development.
“I need to be bigger and stronger. I want to make it to the NHL and everything’s going to be a little bit tougher up there, so you really have to prepare your body and mind for it.”
But he will make sure to leave some time for fun.
“I bought two jet skis last summer, so hopefully the weather is good so I can be on the lake a lot.”