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Sabres continue to replenish defensive depth on Day 2 of the NHL Draft

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - Before the 2018 NHL Draft even began, it was a virtual certainty that the Buffalo Sabres were going to take a Swedish defenseman with the first overall pick. What remained to be seen was how they would draft in rounds two through seven. 

As it turned out, the selection of Swedish defensemen proved to be a theme. After drafting Rasmus Dahlin on Friday, the Sabres made five picks Saturday. Four of those picks were defensemen, three of which had Swedish bloodlines and two of which were trained in Sweden. 

A pattern, sure, but was it intentional?

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Sabres select 5 players on 2nd day of 2018 NHL Draft

Class of 2018 includes 1 forward and 5 defensemen

by Sabres PR @SabresPR / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres selected five players on the second day of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center in Dallas. These five selections join Buffalo's first-round pick, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, to complete the team's 2018 draft class, which includes one forward and five defensemen.

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Pekar 'never imagined' being drafted into NHL

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - Matej Pekar sat at the podium at American Airlines Center, shaking in disbelief. The Czech Republic native had just been drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with the first pick of the fourth round. Less than a year ago, the idea of being drafted at all had never even crossed his mind. 

"Honestly, before the season, I was like, 'Draft, what is it?'" Pekar said. "Like, I'm not getting drafted."

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Former teammate believes Samuelsson will complement Dahlin

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - Bode Wilde spent the past two seasons playing with Mattias Samuelsson with the U.S. National Team Development Program, so he knows a bit about what Buffalo should expect from the defenseman the Sabres selected with the first pick of the second round on Saturday.

His review should get people excited.

"They're getting a guy who will complement Dahlin pretty well," Wilde, a second-round pick by the Islanders, said. "I can just imagine those two playing together. Mattias will definitely lock it up defensively and shut down and allow a guy like Dahlin to have a bit of freedom. 

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2018 NHL Draft: Rounds 2-7

Updates on the Draft from Dallas

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

DALLAS - The Sabres drafted Rasmus Dahlin last night. General manager Jason Botterill and his staff added four more defenseman (three with Swedish roots) and a centerman on Saturday.

Here's how the day played out:

  • 2nd round, 32nd overall - LHD Mattias Samuelsson
  • 4th round, 94th overall - C Matej Pekar
  • 4th round 117th overall (from Minnesota) - LHD Linus Lindstrand Cronholm
  • 5th round, 125th overall - RHD Miska Kukkonen
  • 6th round, 156th overall - Traded to Toronto for a 2019 6th-round pick
  • 7th round, 187th overall - LHD William Worge Kreu

 

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With the draft behind him, Dahlin is eager to call Buffalo home

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - Before the show began and Rasmus Dahlin was called to the stage as the first overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, he was offered a small taste of Buffalo in the stands at American Airlines Center. Fans dressed in Sabres garb, some wearing custom-made jerseys with his name, flocked to his seat to meet him. 

Soon the draft began, and a roar let out with the announcement that the Sabres were on the clock. Then came a rendition of the Buffalo Bills shout song, led by superfan Pancho Billa in section 108, followed by a loud chant of "DAH-LIN." 

Then, finally, Dahlin was wearing a Sabres jersey of his own, smiling ear-to-ear. 

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Sabres select Dahlin 1st overall at 2018 NHL Draft

Dahlin becomes 2nd Swedish player to ever be top selection

by Sabres PR @SabresPR / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres selected defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (Frölunda - SHL) with the first overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft.

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Sabres make it official, draft Dahlin with No. 1 pick

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - He's been called a generational talent and a franchise-defining defenseman. He's been referred to as the consensus top prospect in the game, the best on the blue line since Denis Potvin entered the league in 1973.  

Now, finally, you can attach one more label to Rasmus Dahlin: Buffalo Sabre. 

Dahlin was selected by Buffalo with the first overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on Friday, confirming what those in the hockey world considered to be a given since before the season began. He becomes the third No. 1 pick in franchise history, joining Gilbert Perreault and Pierre Turgeon. 

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Dahlin's combine interview made strong impression on Sabres

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - Like the rest of the hockey world, Jason Botterill was already high on Rasmus Dahlin the player before the defenseman arrived in Buffalo for the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month. What he learned about Rasmus Dahlin the person during their interview at the combine left him just as impressed.

Botterill came away from that meeting impressed by Dahlin's humility and ability to critically assess his own play. Dahlin broke down the ways he could still improve - forecheck reads, battle levels, off-ice habits, adapting to North American ice - leaving the Sabres' general manager with the sense that Dahlin is a true student of the game. 

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Dahlin continues to take draft process one step at a time

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

DALLAS - Rasmus Dahlin has dealt with more hype than any other prospect leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft, yet he insists he hasn't found the process to be difficult. When he has needed words of encouragment, he credits his parents, Martin and Asa, with being his mentors. 

Their best advice to him?

"Probably be yourself," Dahlin said Thursday.

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