Sabres fans finally have something to cheer about this year. Saturday night the NHL conducted its annual draft lottery and after missing out in 2014 and 2015 the Sabres finally won the 2018 lottery and the right to select Swedish star Rasmus Dahlin.
Unlike last year’s Nico vs. Nolan debate, there is no questioning who the first overall pick will be when the NHL Draft kicks off on June 22nd. The only debate for the Sabres is whether to have Dahlin wear a blue or white jersey after GM Jason Botterill calls his name.
If you’re a fan of hockey you know how special Rasmus Dahlin is in the hockey community, he stormed onto the scene as a 16-year-old at the 2017 World Juniors for Team Sweden and has been viewed as the consensus number one overall pick for over a year and a half.
Dahlin will be joining Pierre Turgeon and Gilbert Perrault as the only other player in Sabres history to be selected number one by the organization.
After the lottery Botterill was grinning from ear to ear during all of his interviews, stating that Dahlin is the type of defenseman that all 31 NHL teams are looking for, although he didn’t come right out and say they’re picking Dahlin no one should worry about that… Dahlin will be the pick and he will join Eichel as the cornerstones of the Buffalo Sabres.
Scouts and analysts in the hockey world have said some things about Dahlin that show how truly special he is:
When Nick Lidstrom says Rasmus Dahlin is better at 18 than he was, you know you’ve got one helluva player. Sabres fans should be electric right now.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) April 29, 2018
former NHL GM Craig Button on Dahlin: a #1 elite D man. he is to D men in this draft exactly what McDavid and Matthews were to elite centers"
— Howard WGR (@hsimon62) April 29, 2018
Now declaring him the McDavid of defenceman, or that having his name mentioned with the likes of Nick Lidstrom brings some lofty expectations… but according to those high up in the hockey world this kid is more than deserving of the hype.
Dahlin brings every tool to the table that you could want in a defenceman, he’s mean, tough, has elite hockey IQ, can skate like the wind, and provides offence from the back end.
Just look at his skill on display in this goal:
BONUS: Rasmus Dahlin vs Skellefteå 3/25/2017 #sabres pic.twitter.com/VHuzVQZMfF
— Sabres Goal a Day (@SabresGoalADay) April 29, 2018
Inserting Dahlin into the organization will benefit every single player on the team.
Rasmus Ristolainen will no longer shoulder the load of being the team’s go to defenceman in the future. If he is kept on this roster going forward Housley can use him in the role he was meant to be in… a number 2 or even a second pairing d-man who can light up the scoresheet on the powerplay.
Jack Eichel finally has someone else to help him bear the expecations as the face of the franchise. Eichel has dealt with more than any star player at his age should have, but now he is no longer alone as a franchise cornerstone… Dahlin comes in and immediately takes some of the pressure away from Eichel. Now the team has two franchise defining players… on top of super stud Casey Mittelstadt and promising players Brendan Guhle and Sam Reinhart.
Phil Housley now has a number one defenceman designed for his system… TSN’s Dave Poulin said that Dahlin will be the best defensive prospect entering the Buffalo organization since Housley himself. Housley will be getting a young mind he can help mold, a mind who has the skill and smarts to play the way Housley wants him too all while being solid defensively.
So Sabres fans soak it all in… youtube all the Dahlin highlights you want over the next few months and bask in all the glory that comes with winning the lottery and the right to draft a generational defenceman because Rasmus Dahlin will be a Buffalo Sabre come June… and things are (dare I say it) actually beginning to look bright for organization.
ALSO: we are working on some in depth pieces centering around Rasmus Dahlin so be on the look out for more great content brought to by the guys at @TheChargingBUF