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Sharpen Up: Week of May 6, 2019

All the Sabres news you need to know this week

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour will be in Slovakia this week as the 2019 IIHF World Championship gets underway. 

The tournament begins Friday and runs through May 26. 

Here's what you need to know.


Opening round starts Friday

Reinhart and Montour will represent Team Canada at the Worlds. The Canadians open the preliminary round against Finland on Friday at 10:15 a.m. Their full schedule is below, with all times Eastern. 

Friday, May 10 vs. Finland - 10:15 a.m.
Sunday, May 12 vs. Great Britain - 2:15 p.m.
Monday, May 13 vs. Slovakia - 2:15 p.m.
Thursday, May 16 vs. France - 10:15 a.m.
Saturday, May 18 vs. Germany - 10:15 a.m.
Monday, May 20 vs. Denmark - 2:15 p.m.
Tuesday, May 21 vs. United States - 2:15 p.m.

GM Jason Botterill is part of Canada's management team. 

We have more on Team Canada here.

Eichel was one of 17 players included on Team USA's preliminary roster on April 18. South Buffalo native Patrick Kane will captain the team, while former Sabres captain Chris Drury is serving as general manager.

Team USA opens its preliminary-round schedule against host country Slovakia on Friday at 2:15 p.m. The full preliminary round schedule is below, with all games airing on NHL Network (all times Eastern): 

Friday, May 10 vs. Slovakia - 2:15 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 vs. France - 6:15 a.m.
Monday, May 13 vs. Finland - 10:15 a.m.
Wednesday, May 15 vs. Great Britain - 10:15 a.m.
Saturday, May 18 vs. Denmark - 6:15 a.m.
Sunday, May 19 vs. Germany - 10:15 a.m.

Read more on the Americans here.


A deeper look at Dahlin's season

Rasmus Dahlin was named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy on April 27. What would a resume for one of the league's best rookies look like? Here's a sample of that story, which you can read in full here.

Dahlin was one of six rookies to play all 82 games this season, but he's in historical company when you consider his age. He was the fifth player - and first defenseman - to skate a full 82-game schedule ahead of his 19th birthday. 

The others? Nathan MacKinnon, Chris Gratton, Jeff Skinner and Vincent Lecavalier. 

Over those 82 games, Dahlin skated 1,735 minutes. According to Hockey Reference, that's the second-highest total by a player in their age-18 season, behind Florida Panthers defenseman (and Calder Trophy winner) Aaron Ekblad. 

The next closest player on that list is Sidney Crosby, at 1,630 minutes. The next closest defenseman is Jakob Chychrun, at 1,133.

In other words, Dahlin was used in a way that's nearly unprecedented for an 18-year-old defenseman. The one precedent, Ekblad, has a Calder Trophy to show for his campaign.


For all his offensive abilities, Dahlin was touted primarily as a player who would help the Sabres get the puck out of their own zone. The numbers suggest he made a positive impact in that regard. 

Dahlin's 5-on-5 Corsi-for percentage of 51.91 ranked fifth among rookie defensemen (min. 500 minutes). As for goal creation, he led rookie defensemen by a wide margin in terms of relative goals-for percentage (7.58), which weighs a team's scoring when a player is on the ice compared to when he's not. 

Only seven rookie defensemen had positive impacts in that regard, according to Natural Stat Trick, the closest being Tampa Bay's Erik Cernak (5.73).


Stay tuned for another edition of Sharpen Up next week. 

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