Current Team: Frolunda (Swedish Hockey League)
Date of Birth: April 13, 2000
Hometown: Trollhattan, Sweden
41 GP/7 G/13 A/20 PTS/20 PIM
In recent years, the NHL has been blessed with prospects at the top of the draft who have made immediate impacts with their teams: Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick. We’ve also seen a large number of standout defensemen from Sweden: Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, John Klingberg, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, to name a few.
Next month, we will add a name to both lists: Rasmus Dahlin.
Unlike the recent drafts where there was debate about the top pick, there appears to be a consensus this year that Dahlin is the best player in the draft, and will be chosen by the Buffalo Sabres with the first pick. Our colleagues at Die By The Blade are already considering this certainty. There is room for Dahlin on the Buffalo roster next season, and based on what I’ve seen I think he can be their best blue liner, much like Zach Werenski earned first pair minutes from his first season in Columbus.
It would be easy to compare Dahlin to Werenski as another offensively gifted defenseman. Watch the video below, however, and I feel like his stick work is a lot more like Artemi Panarin. Heck, he may end up being the second best offensive weapon in Buffalo, behind only Eichel.
As a 17 year old, he played 41 games in Sweden’s top league. He was also named top defenseman at this year’s World Junior Championships...held in Buffalo.
I’ll be sure to come see him in person when the Sabres come to Columbus next season, and I’ll be glad that the Jackets only have to play him 3 times a season.
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. - Dan Maar, Director of NHL Central Scouting
What we can learn from Dahlin’s record-breaking offensive season, beyond the historic numbers, is that the plays he’s making are plays of skill, speed, finesse, and technique. With each extra goal, or highlight reel assist comes a reaffirmation of the transformative ability he has. It shows us that what he’s done is repeatable and that his eight per cent shooting percentage (high for a defenceman) is no fluke.
Above all else, it’s the way he makes plays, not the end results, that give us a glimpse into the unknown. That dynamism leads to wonder — wonder about the possibilities and the potential. The potential of something truly new and different.
Very few players create that kind of wonder. Ovechkin. McDavid. Karlsson.
Dahlin’s skillset has that kind of lure. It’s up to him to fulfill it. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic