Dahlin Expected to be a 'Slam Dunk' for Sabres

Swedish sensation to be top selection at NHL Draft tonight

Tom Puckett
June 22, 2018 - 4:00 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) When the Buffalo Sabres make the first selection at the NHL Draft, it's expected they'll pick Swedish sensation Rasmus Dahlin. Experts say he'll make an immediate impact on the Sabres.

"I do think he's a slam dunk," says Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet. "I think he's going to be able to play 18 to 20 minutes right away." Cosentino says Dahlin is a mix of three NHL superstars. "A little bit of (Victor) Hedman, (William) Karlsson and (Nicklas) Lidstrom, a guy who now fits what the NHL is doing in terms of the puck rushing, puck moving defenseman who is essentially the fourth forward."

There's one other quality Cosentino likes about Dahlin. "I was lucky enough to spend time with him at the combine, and what an unbelieveable young man. Poised, respectful, well thought out, and when you take his skill set and add a grade A character to it, you have a star in the making," adds Cosentino.

One of Dahlin's teammates in Sweden is Matt Donovan. He says one thing stuck out in his mind: his puck handling. "He moves like Connor McDavid, but differently. It's always on his stick, you can't get it off. When I play against him in practice, it was nothing like I had ever seen before," comments Donovan.

Sabres Assistant GM Randy Sexton says he was blown away watching Dahlin play for the first time. "There are three components to being a star defenseman in the NHL today. Hockey sense, execution, and vision, and Rasmus Dahlin has all three of those. Add on top of that his skating ability and he gives himself space and time to make plays. The truly great players do that, they have a unique skill most others don't have."

The Sabres' first selection is expected shortly after 7:30pm.

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