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Berglund eager to mentor Dahlin with Sabres

Veteran center will be teammate of No. 1 pick in 2018 Draft after trade from Blues

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Patrik Berglund is looking forward to a fresh start with the Buffalo Sabres not only for what the 30-year-old center hopes to accomplish on the ice, but off it as well, mostly as a mentor to defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

"I'll help him as much as he wants and help him along the way to understand everything," Berglund said Friday after his last informal skate with former St. Louis Blues teammates before departing for Buffalo on Saturday. "I think especially when the season starts, help him how to kind of take care of himself, a lot of travels and all that, find a way."

Berglund said he has met Dahlin once and seen him on film a few times, but is more than happy to assist the 18-year-old in his acclimation to the NHL. The No. 25 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Berglund said leaning on veteran players was beneficial for him when he made his NHL debut with the Blues in 2008. 


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The fact Berglund and Dahlin each is Sweden-born is likely to form a natural bond.

"I don't think he's played this many games, same way when I came in," Berglund said. "It's definitely going to be a big change and I can help him realize a little bit that it is a big change. He can probably calm down and feel more comfortable."

At the same time, Berglund will look to establish a new comfort level of his own. After spending the first 10 seasons of his NHL career with the Blues, he will begin a new chapter with the Sabres after he was traded to Buffalo with forwards Vladimir Sobotka and Tage Thompson, a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft for center Ryan O'Reilly on July 1. 

"I think they tried to find some new identities to the team and added them, a lot of pieces," Berglund said of the Sabres. "It's seven pieces or something like that, and their young players are super-talented and good. [center Jack] Eichel, [center Sam] Reinhart, now Rasmus Dahlin, and [defenseman Rasmus] Ristolainen, too. 

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"You get the guys from the Blues in there (including goaltender Carter Hutton, who signed a three-year, $8.25 million contract with an average annual value of $2.75 million) and [center] Jeff Skinner (acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on Aug. 2), I think overall the Buffalo Sabres organization is probably really excited about this upcoming year. I am, I think all are as players too. Everybody as players are excited to get together now and to get to know each other and to start building for the future."

After St. Louis missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season for the first time since 2010-11, moves were inevitable, Berglund said.

"It was tough, but in the back of my head, I knew they were going to do something this year that would be bigger than normal, and I could definitely be involved in that too," said Berglund, who has 322 points (168 goals, 154 assists) in 694 NHL games. "I've been [with the Blues] a long time and maybe they needed change. 

"It didn't take me too long to accept it and move on, and I started right away to get excited about a new adventure and a new opportunity."

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