Dahlin was considered by many experts and analysts to be one of the most polished and pro ready defenseman to enter the draft in several years. With elite two way playmaking ability and elite speed it was easy to see why he was the sure fire #1 overall selection. It has now been a year since he joined the Sabres so lets take an in depth look at how he has helped the Sabres defense.
Dahlin all around played a solid defensive game. Dahlin was more physical than many experts thought he would during his rookie year. I was personally impressed with how many board battles he was able to win his rookie year, coming into the draft it was considered one of his few weaknesses.
Another key to Dahlin’s defense was his one on one skills. Coming out of the draft I had heard all the hype about how he was so good in one on one situations, but he played beyond expectations. Dahlin one of the best one on one defenders Buffalo had.
Overall, Buffalo’s defense in 2018-19 was more impressive than it had been in years past, and that was certainly influenced by Rasmus Dahlin.
However, the biggest key for Rasmus Dahlin was his ability to turn defense into offense. Often Dahlin would steal the puck away from an opposing player and would use his rare speed on skates to start a 3v2 or 3v1 situation. Dahlin’s skating abilities combined with his precision passing for a defenseman is extremely uncommon. Dahlin is a young player so he will have those “why the heck did you do that plays”, but sometimes he would pass the puck through seemingly impossible windows and it would turn into assists.
Dahlin was 4th on the Sabres last season with 35 assists. That number is not just impressive for a defenseman, but if you add on that he is just 18 years old on a team that struggled last season it becomes even more impressive.
This season is a big one for Dahlin. Expect him to take the next step forward with a year of NHL play under his belt. If he can limit the risky plays and continue his development as a defender there’s no reason to believe he won’t be an All Star Defender this year or next. Get excited Sabre Nation, Buffalo found a star.