Rasmus Dahlin said Thursday he believes the Buffalo Sabres' eight-season Stanley Cup Playoff drought is about to end.
"We're going to be a winning team and be in the playoffs," the second-year defenseman told The Associated Press. "I think everyone is putting more pressure on ourselves now, and we're ready to go."
Dahlin, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut Oct. 4. The Sabres won 10 games in a row from Nov. 3-29 to ascend to the top of the NHL standings but lost 41 of their final 57 games to fall 22 points short of the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.
"We played so well in the beginning of the season, so that made you frustrated because we know how good we can play," Dahlin said. "Yeah, we're going to get something good going on here."
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Coach Phil Housley was fired after the season and was replaced by Ralph Kruger, who met with Dahlin for the first time Wednesday.
Dahlin, who turned 19 on April 13, had 44 points (nine goals, 35 assists) in his rookie season. He finished third in the voting for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, behind winner Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks and Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues.
Buffalo last made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010-11, the longest current absence in the NHL. It hasn't won a series since 2006-07, when it reached the Eastern Conference Final for a second straight season.
"I feel more prepared. I feel more mature," Dahlin said. "Like that one year of experience, I know what's coming this season. I feel more comfortable in my position."