No more than an hour after completing his introductory news conference in Buffalo on Monday, the NHL’s No. 1 draft pick had already changed into a yellow Sabres practice uniform and, with stick in hand, was on his way to hit the ice with a number of fellow prospects.
Finally, after a monthlong pre-draft process of interviews, testing and cross-country travel that culminated in hearing his name called first from the podium in Dallas on Friday, Dahlin was back in his element.
“I used to play some golf and hang out with friends, but, yeah, I love to play hockey and that’s my 100 percent thing I usually do,” the 18-year-old Swedish defenseman said. “I’m a pretty boring guy.”cheap nfl authentic jerseys
Off the ice, maybe.
On the ice, Dahlin is considered anything but boring with a heads-up, smooth-skating and play-making style that has already drawn comparisons to elite Swedish defensemen such as Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and former Detroit Red Wings star Nicklas Lidstrom.
In Buffalo, he’s already captured the imagination of a win-starved base of fans, many of whom started submitting orders for Dahlin’s No. 26 Sabres jersey moments after he formally pulled one on to close the news conference.
And yet, amid the buzz Dahlin has generated since the Sabres won the NHL draft lottery in April, it’s unrealistic to presume one player alone can turn around a franchise that has finished last in three of the past five years, not made the playoffs since 2011 and not won a playoff series since 2007.
“I don’t actually think that way,” Dahlin said of whether he feels the weight of expectations on his 6-foot-2, 181-pound frame. “I’ll bring everything I can to this team and, yeah, try to win hockey games. That’s what I think about.”
General manager Jason Botterill was quick to interject once Dahlin completed his answer.
“He doesn’t need to be the savior,” Botterill said, before listing the talented young group of players already on Buffalo’s roster, including forward Jack Eichel.cheap nfl jerseys from china
“Look, we certainly have to have better results on the ice,” he said. “But we’re certainly excited to bring Rasmus into our core group here and how they can grow together.”