Rasmus Dahlin would likely be the number one player in this countdown, if it weren’t for another very talented teammate.
Looking back at his first professional season, Dahlin lived up to expectations.
As a young defenseman adjusting to a tough on-ice and travel schedule, along with playing against the world’s best talent, Dahlin looked like he belonged.
After playing a full 82 game season for the first time, Dahlin put up 44 points (nine goals, 35 assists) as an 18-year old.
Safe to say that the pre-draft hype on Dahlin was very real.
Despite missing out on past lottery wins, Buffalo needed a young, talented defenseman.
After year one, many are ready to confirm the chatter that his future is incredibly bright.
Dahlin enters his sophomore season in the NHL as the Buffalo Sabres undisputed number one defenseman.
Growing pains can be expected with a player who is entering the season as a 19 year old with sky-high expectations but Dahlin showed through his rookie season that no stage felt too big for him.
Ingrained with an ability to adjust on-the-fly and a developed ability to have a short memory, Dahlin’s play seems to grow game-by-game.
‘’I’m putting more pressure on myself. We’re going to be a winning team and be in the playoffs,’’ Dahlin recently told the Associated Press. ‘’I think everyone is putting more pressure on ourselves now, and we’re ready to go.’’
This season, expectations will ultimately be hard to reach but with a bevy of natural skill and ability, Dahlin should take a big step forward into the conversation of the league’s top defensemen.
#25 Miska Kukkonen
#24 Linus Weissbach
#23 Andrew Oglevie
#22 Jacob Bryson
#21 Casey Fitzgerald
#20 Marcus Davidsson
#19 Matej Pekar
#18 Ryan Johnson
#16 Oskari Laaksonen
#14 Will Borgen
#13 C.J. Smith
#12 Rasmus Asplund
#11 Tage Thompson
#10 Dylan Cozens
#3 Sam Reinhart