Breaking down which Buffalo Sabres player made the first 32 of NHL All-Star Weekend

As you may already be aware, Rasmus Dahlin was chosen to represent the Buffalo Sabres in the first 32, but what made him the choice?

Dec 31 2023; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (26) skates with the puck
Dec 31 2023; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (26) skates with the puck / Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
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Last night, we discovered Rasmus Dahlin would represent the Buffalo Sabres in the first 32 at NHL All-Star Weekend, but it came at the expense of Casey Mittelstadt. Mittelstadt scored another pair of points in last night’s contest, including a power play goal, while Dahlin coughed up the puck that ultimately prevented a shutout win from occurring. 

However, the Sabres 23-year-old blueliner had two points of his own, giving him 31 on the year in 38 games, including an empty-netter. He also has a few more defensive numbers than Mittelstadt overall, and that two-way prowess likely gave him the edge over the upstart center. 

Dahlin ranks second on the team with 74 blocked shots, trailing only Mattias Samuelsson, who has 77. He’s also tied with Samuelsson with 75 hits, with Connor Clifton (78 hits) being the only player to lead them in the category.

Breaking down why Dahlin is the Buffalo Sabres All-Star rep

Further, Dahlin’s average total ice time is among the highest in the league when compared to the league’s top skaters, where he has logged 24:58 so far. This shows off his durability, especially when you consider he’s only missed one game this season in a year when it seems like just about everyone on the Buffalo Sabres has gotten hurt - or everyone except for Mittelstadt. 

Overall, it’s hard to tell Buffalo Sabres fans that Rasmus Dahlin deserves the honor this season more than Casey Mittelstadt, but when you break things down further, you can still see why he made the first 32. It’s also worth noting Dahlin’s 21 takeaways, which will at least put him near a career-high if he keeps up that pace, may have also played a role.

And further, he’s also well on pace for career-highs in goals scored, shots on goal, shooting percentage, blocks, and hits. It’s not like he didn’t at least warrant strong consideration when you look at the big picture and his overall numbers, even if Mittelstadt more than made his case.

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)