Kahun 'having fun' playing hockey in Buffalo
Forward has 4 points in 6 games with Sabresby Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com
Dominik Kahun is having fun playing in Buffalo.
Yes, his point total would suggest as much. Kahun has tallied four points in six games with the Sabres, including a goal on the second shift of his debut in Las Vegas on Feb. 28. He scored the deciding goal in the seventh round of Buffalo's shootout win over Washington on Monday.
But points are just a byproduct of the many factors that have Kahun excited about his fresh start. He feels energized playing in coach Ralph Krueger's system, which promotes creative freedom for players within a set of team principles. He's found quick chemistry on a line with Marcus Johansson and Victor Olofsson.
"I'm more and more happy about the group of guys we've got," Kahun said Tuesday. "It's very fun to come here every day and [I am] also finding my game back. I'm having fun playing hockey and that's the most important thing for me."
Kahun is on his third stop in two NHL seasons. He had his choice of four teams to sign with as an undrafted free agent in April 2018 and decided on the Chicago Blackhawks, then went on to play all 82 games and score 37 points as a rookie last season.
Sabres assistant coach Don Granato was on the coaching staff in Chicago and detailed how Kahun quickly earned the respect of a veteran-laden roster.
"In the end it was the right choice, for sure," Kahun said.
The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Kahun in exchange for defenseman Olli Maatta after the season. Though he continued to produce with 27 points in 50 games for the Penguins, he says he's felt more comfortable with his game since being acquired by the Sabres at the deadline.
"Just to play, play my game, play with the puck, make plays," he explained. "That's for sure more fun for me right now."
Kahun found immediate chemistry with Johansson, a connection that's only been amplified with the addition of Olofsson to their line during the past two games. Krueger described the trio as having an "east-west" dynamic offensively.
"Yeah, I would say that," Olofsson said. "We're all lefties so we kind of - it doesn't really matter where we end up. We're not just driving down our lane. We're doing some crossing and I think it's kind of hard for the defenders sometimes. You don't really know where we're going to be all the time."
The three players combined for a scoring chance on a rush during the shift that eventually led to Olofsson's goal against the Capitals on Monday.
Video: WSH@BUF: Olofsson roofs wrister home from the circle
"I feel we're all a little bit [similar] players," Kahun said. "We want the puck, we want to make plays with it, and we also try to work hard."
Kahun still feels he has more to show. The 24-year-old admits he is still getting used to his responsibilities away from the puck. He believes he can eventually be an impact player on the power play as well.
"It's going to get better and better," he said. "I think I played OK or, yeah, not bad. But I still think I can do even better, have the puck more. I still didn't show my 100 percent."