The Buffalo Sabres have their man. Rasmus Dahlin is the most hyped defenseman to enter the NHL in years, and he'll be joining a Buffalo blue line desperately in need of bolstering. It's a lot of pressure to put on the 18-year-old Dahlin, but he immediately becomes the best defenseman on the Sabres.
Dahlin has drawn comparisons to another Swedish defenseman: Nicklas Lidstrom. Comparisons to a Hall-of-Famer and one of the best defensemen of all time without playing a game are, as always, premature, but Dahlin has earned the hype with his outstanding play in Sweden. Lidstrom himself compared Dahlin's skating ability to Rangers legendary defenseman Brian Leetch. A terrific two-way player, Dahlin is as impressive with his physicality defensively as he is with his stick-handling offensively.
The Sabres, who haven't made the playoffs since 2011, are looking to finally break out of what's been a brutal rebuild. Dahlin is just the 14th defenseman to be taken first overall, but he's been the consensus No. 1 pick for ridiculous moves like this one:
There's a good chance that we'll see Dahlin get decent minutes early for the Sabres, who need any help from the blue line in the offensive zone that they can get. Dahlin helps the Sabres both at even strength and in the power play, and come 2018 we'll see if the hype surrounding the young star is warranted. It's hard to imagine him coming into a better situation that underneath Sabres coach Phil Housley, a defenseman that was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.