Rasmus Dahlin has been selected as a finalist for the Calder Trophy, the NHL announced Saturday. The award is given annually to the league's top rookie.
Dahlin is one of three finalists for the trophy, along with Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson and St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington. The winner will be announced during the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 19.
After being selected with the No. 1 overall pick last June, Dahlin turned in one of the best statistical seasons by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history. His 44 points were the second-most by a defenseman ahead of their 19th birthday, trailing only Phil Housley (57 in 1982-83).
Dahlin's point total led rookie defensemen and ranked third among all rookies, behind Pettersson and Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk. His average ice time of 21:09 ranked second to Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen, and he was one of six rookies to appear in all 82 games.
Zach Bogosian, Dahlin's defense partner for much of the season, explained why the rookie's workload was no small accomplishment.
"From the time you come in at 18, from your draft, to the combine, to development camp, to rookie camp, to training camp, to preseason, to the season - it adds up," said Bogosian, who came into the NHL as an 18-year-old rookie in 2008.
"He's handled it well. I think over time, as a veteran, the more and more games he plays, he'll get more comfortable and know situations, know how to take care of himself more, how to be more professional. It comes with just playing games, and he's done an amazing job of it."
Video: LOCKER CLEANOUT: Dahlin
Dahlin would become the fourth Sabres player to win the Calder Trophy and the first since Tyler Myers in 2010. The others were Gilbert Perreault (1970-71) and Tom Barrasso (1983-84).
Speaking to the media at locker cleanout day earlier this month, Dahlin reflected positively on his rookie campaign but left room for improvement.
"I came here to want to make a change," he said. "What I've heard, we have made a small, small difference here, but we want to be a winning team. We want to make the playoffs every year so I'm here to make the change.
"I'm super excited for next year. Somehow, we're going to turn this around. I'm a part of it so I'm super excited."