2018 NHL draft prospect profile #1: Rasmus Dahlin

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 04: NHL 2018 Entry Draft Prospect Rasmus Dahlin speaks to the media ahead of Game Four of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on June 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 04: NHL 2018 Entry Draft Prospect Rasmus Dahlin speaks to the media ahead of Game Four of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on June 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) /

We saved the best for last. Everybody and their Grandma knows Rasmus Dahlin is going first overall and I’m sure you have heard a lot about him already. I’m keeping this brief and giving you the most important things you need to know about this year’s number one pick.

Honestly, I just want to skip to the draft already. But, we got one more day of waiting to go. The Buffalo Sabres will select Rasmus Dahlin first overall and Vancouver Canucks fans are going to have wait half an hour after that to see their team’s first pick.

Losing out on the draft lottery always stings, especially when a coveted defenceman like Dahlin is the big prize. This young man is going to alter a franchise. He is a surefire top pairing defencemen and will quickly become the number one defenceman in Buffalo.

We’re going to break it down more in the next section, but you will hear many comparisons to Erik Karlsson. Those are lofty expectations and I’m not ready to declare Dahlin a generational defenceman just yet. Certainly franchise-defining, but it takes a lot to talked about in the same class as Karlsson and Bobby Orr.

Regardless, Dahlin is leaps and bounds ahead of every other defenceman in this draft. He is the best player available period and nobody can touch him. Without further ado, let’s go deeper and find out why everyone is tripping over themselves for Dahlin.

The stats rundown

*Counting stats provided by EliteProspects

Height: 192 cm/6’4″

Weight: 84 kg/185 lbs

Birthdate: April 13, 2000

Position: Defenceman

Handedness: Left







#1 by Bob McKenzie

#1 by Craig Button


More from Draft

As you have seen throughout this first round, getting a cup of coffee in the SHL is impressive enough. Rasmus Dahlin has been in the league since he was 16 years old. This draft season was impressive, nearly matching Victor Hedman did at the same age.

Of course, Dahlin shatters anything Karlsson did in his draft year, who spent more of his season in the SuperElit league. Believe it or not, Karlsson was a reach in that 2008 draft and Ottawa Senators fans and media were visibly upset by the pick. Funny how developing into the best defenceman of this generation wipes that all away.

Given Dahlin’s height, it looks like he’s part way between Hedman and Karlsson. Perhaps that’s where his ceiling lies, but it’s always a mistake to underestimate a prospect this promising. He didn’t blow the doors off at the World Juniors this year, subjected to a more defence-focused role. Additionally, Dahlin was named the best defenceman of the tournament.

Dahlin led defencemen in scoring for his age group and was named the league’s best defenceman as well.

Scouting reports

Ryan Biech, CanucksArmy:

"He runs the power-play with the best of them, displaying excellent passing skills, a heavy shot, active movement and hockey IQ to create. He is able to carry the puck out of his zone, through the neutral zone, and into the offensive zone at will.His skating is among the best in this draft class with excellent edge-work, lateral movement, and speed — all while controlling the puck and making moves with complete control.Dahlin has creative vision and anticipation that allows him to spring his teammates with long bombs of passes or through a quick pass and then support on the rush. He appears to have ice in his veins whenever he is out there — just controlling the game while making a noticeable impact.In his own zone, his positioning, movement and reads are great. He combines all three to effectively shut down opponents and then move the puck out of the zone. He doesn’t get danced by opponents. His gap control is strong using his skating abilities, active stick and physical play to snuff out attacks into his zone."

Patrik Bexell, Habs Eyes on the Prize:

"His strength lies in his understanding of the game and the vision he possesses, which makes him stand out in all situations on the ice. His physical game is underrated because of his awareness and hockey mind; he doesn’t have to use it as much because of his other strengths. This might change with a move to smaller rinks, and it could surprise quite a few people when he comes across the Atlantic. (…)His weakness was said to be a tendency toward a high-risk game, and that’s something that has also changed this past season. Dahlin isn’t afraid to play a safer style — he is keenly aware that not every play has to make the highlight reel — but Frölunda has asked him to play that more-involved game at all times because that’s where his strength lies."

What we think

There’s not much more I can add regarding Dahlin. He’s an amazing defenceman with few flaws. However, if I were to point out one other weakness, he doesn’t have the hardest shot. There is power and incredible accuracy, but he won’t be winning any hardest shot competitions.

Honestly, that is such a small flaw and in no way detracts from the sublime talent possessed by this young man. He’s the defenceman that everyone will desire to have and hate to play against. Saying Dahlin manages the flow of play is an understatement, but he is good enough to dictate the pace as he wishes. This is someone who is going to terrorize players in the Atlantic Division in all three zones on the ice.

Next: 2018 NHL draft profile #2: Andrei Svechnikov

I normally try to not set ridiculous expectations, but c’mon. This is Rasmus Dahlin we are talking about here. Furthermore, he’s going to be great, and maybe have the ability to pull Buffalo out of the basement. There are few defencemen like him in the NHL and Dahlin is going to create something special. With that, we conclude our 2018 NHL draft profile series. If you made through the entire thing, I would like to say thank you. Even if you just wanted to see the top five, that’s good too. Let’s have great draft!