To the surprise of no one, the Buffalo Sabres officially nabbed 19-year-old Swedish defenseman, Rasmus Dahlin with the first overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Dahlin, according to most, is a once in a lifetime blueline talent and a no-brainer top overall selection. He is the first Swedish player selected first overall since Mats Sundin in 1989. It is the first time the Sabres have selected first overall since 1987.
Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting
“Dahlin has the skating, skills and elite hockey sense that can dictate the style of play and the pace of a game with or without the puck. He finds ways to contribute in all situations, is ultra-competitive and a high-character person who leads by example.”
“He’s the type of defenseman that pretty much 31 teams in the National Hockey League want these days,’’ said Sabres General Manager, Jason Botterill prior to the draft. “Just that ability to jump up in the rush and create offense and chances but also have that competitive spirit to play against other team’s top players.’’
Dahlin is a talented two-way defenseman in the mold of Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman. Being so young, Dahlin will most certainly need to put on some weight, however, he is already not afraid to enter the physical game. Dahlin was named Defensive MVP during the IIHF World Junior Championships as he led Sweden to a silver medal. Coincidently, that tournament was held in Buffalo.
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Speaking of Buffalo, the Sabres finally got the lucky bounce of the ping pong ball in the draft lottery. Recent years have seen them miss out on players such as Conor McDavid so having a chance to draft Dahlin must be a sigh of relief for a franchise aching to get back to the playoffs. Since the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13, the Sabres have finished with fewer than 62 points for the season.