The Buffalo Sabres officially get their projected franchise defenceman, after selecting Rasmus Dahlin with the first overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft.
The dream finally became a reality on Friday night for Buffalo Sabres fans. Although there was never any doubt, their team made it official when selecting Rasmus Dahlin with the first overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft.
In the process, the Sabres now have on board a player who has been described as a generational talent and franchise-altering. And we shouldn’t have to wait too long, to start finding out how accurate these projections are.
Despite only being 18-years-old, many scouts and media analysts are predicting Dahlin to make the roster straight out of training camp. If everything goes to plan, he will be in the lineup on opening night, when the Swords host the Boston Bruins on Oct. 4.
However, that is all for the future. Right now, the Sabres and their fans can dream, with Dahlin joining an intriguing young core full of explosive potential, including the likes of Jack Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt and Alex Nylander.
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Dahlin is the third player in franchise history, to be picked first overall in the NHL draft. The Sabres and their fans can only hope he has an impact similar to Gilbert Perreault and Pierre Turgeon, albeit in a different position.
One thing the Sabres won’t have to worry about, is any arrogance or complacency on the part of the Swede. Despite all the accolades being thrown in his direction, he knows he still has a long way to go.
"“A very humble man off the ice. I was very impressed with his self-assessment and what he felt he has to improve on. Just the focus he has and the determination from that. I came away from the meetings very positive about him and that he will have a very impressive future in the National Hockey League.”"
Dahlin joins Mats Sundin as the only two Swedes to ever be selected first overall in the NHL draft. And this really hit home when Sportsnet’s Tara Slone showed the youngster a video message from Sundin.
The Hall of Famer offered his congratulations and told him “We are number one”. As reported by Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com, Dahlin said to Slone:
"“Oh, my God. I can’t sit here and say how I feel right now, because it’s too much emotions. I’m so super happy. That’s one of the coolest things I ever heard.”"
As you’d expect, there will be a lot of pressure on Dahlin to help turn around the Sabres’ program. He is expected to be an excellent fit in Phil Housley‘s scheme, with his excellent hockey IQ, superior puck skills and ability to log big minutes.
However, all that mattered to the blueliner on Friday night was that his family was there with him in Dallas. The joy and emotion were evident, as TV cameras captured him hugging his parents, brother and sister.
And Dahlin’s mother captured the occasion perfectly, by saying “We’re going to celebrate”. You imagine a lot of people in Western New York are doing the same right now.
What’s your prediction for Dahlin’s first season with the Buffalo Sabres? Will he play in the NHL right away and if so, what kind of production are you projecting for him? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.