69°F
weather icon Clear

Sabres select Dahlin with first overall pick of NHL draft

DALLAS — Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin went first overall to the Buffalo Sabres and Russian winger Andrei Svechnikov second to the Carolina Hurricanes in the two most predictable developments of an NHL draft that also featured some curveballs.

The Sabres taking Dahlin was automatic since they won the draft lottery in April, and the 18-year-old wore a Buffalo Bills hat Friday prior to the selection. Svechnikov got to try on the Hurricanes’ draft hat before he was the No. 2 pick just as general manager Don Waddell acknowledged recently.

Dahlin is the second Swedish player to be taken No. 1 and the first since Mats Sundin in 1989. Sundin went on to a Hall of Fame career.

“It’s pretty crazy actually,” Dahlin said. “He’s a legend in the hockey world. It’s kind of weird but amazing.”

The selections after Dahlin and Svechnikov brought some surprises. Montreal took Finnish center Jesperi Kotkaniemi third and Arizona went a bit off the board with center Barrett Hayton fifth, allowing high-scoring Czech winger Filip Zadina to fall to Detroit with the sixth pick.

“I wasn’t really surprised,” said Kotkaniemi, who had been linked to the Canadiens in recent days. “I heard that they were looking for centers. So I hoped that they chose me.”

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said before the draft that they were going to take the player they thought would be the best down the road. Holland figured Zadina can be a 30-goal scorer in the NHL.

“We’re trying to build,” Holland said. “We’re looking to acquire as much talent as we can as quickly as possible.”

Dahlin should spark the rebuilding process for Buffalo, which has missed the playoffs in each of the past seven seasons. The smooth-skating playmaker was considered the consensus first pick for more than a year.

“It’s been a long waiting,” Dahlin said. “You can’t really plan anything. Finally today I can plan my future. I love to call my new town Buffalo.”

After co-owner Kim Pegula made some opening remarks, general manager Jason Botterill announced Dahlin as the top pick. In the corner of the arena, Sabres fans in attendance chanted, “Dahlin! Dahlin!”

Bills draft pick Josh Allen tweeted after the pick: “Welcome to Buffalo rasmusdahlin00! Can’t wait to watch you play, wings on me later this summer.”

Dahlin will jump to the NHL right away and should help the club’s league-worst offense that contributed to its last-place finish. He had six assists in seven games at the world junior championships in Buffalo and put up 20 points in 41 games in Sweden’s top pro league this season.

Botterill and his staff met with Dahlin at the scouting combine in Buffalo and came away as impressed with the young Swede’s self-assessment as his on-ice talent.

“I think Mr. Dahlin could improve pretty much 31 teams in the National Hockey League,” Botterill said earlier in the day. “You watch him on the ice and you’re very impressed with his hockey sense, his speed, his puck skills but a very humble man off the ice.”

About an hour before the Sabres were on the clock, the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals made the first trade of draft weekend by sending veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick. The trade netted Washington the 47th pick but most importantly cleared significant salary-cap space to attempt to re-sign pending free agent defensemen John Carlson and Michal Kempny.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has spoken with Carlson’s agent about a deal but had not agreed to one as of Friday night.

Grubauer was the first domino to fall in what could be a fascinating goaltending market. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson is reportedly available, and Columbus might have to make a decision on Sergei Bobrovsky if like winger Artemi Panarin the two-time Vezina Winner isn’t willing to talk about a contract extension with just a year left before free agency.

The top 10 picks were all made without any trades, despite Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli advertising the 10th overall pick was available, especially for a defenseman.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights on game two against the Canucks
The Golden Knights discuss the difference between Games 1 and 2, Elias Pettersson and the Canucks' skilled players during media availability Wednesday.
Golden Knights on distractions surrounding team
The Golden Knights comment on Johnathan Marchessault's Instagram comments and the distractions surrounding the team during the playoffs.
Golden Knights have a vocal bench - VIDEO
With no fans in the stands it is easier to hear how rowdy VGK's bench is which has always been that way, says William Karlsson.
Golden Knights utilize rest before round 2 - VIDEO
Golden Knights are adapting to the mental grind of the bubble - VIDEO
Kelly McCrimmon on hockey in the NHL Bubble
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon spoke about being in the western NHL bubble and all the hockey he is consuming in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Golden Knights on Nick Cousins
Golden Knights Nick Cousins, Jonathan Marchessault and GM Kelly McCrimmon discuss what Cousins brings to the team in the NHL Bubble.
Remote broadcasting for the Golden Knights - VIDEO
The Knights’ TV announcers for AT&T SportsNet have adapted since the NHL restarted its season, just like many people have during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fleury holds off Chicago for a win in game 3 - VIDEO
Golden Knights 'Fun Committee' in the bubble - Video
The Golden Knights are finding ways to keep themselves entertained inside the NHL bubble and even have a fun committee to help organize different events.
Robin Lehner loses skate blade - Video
Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner's skate blade popped out on two occasions in the second period during the team's 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
McCrimmon on the depth of the Golden Knights' roster - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about how much depth the team has on the roster, how additions like Zach Whitecloud and Robin Lehner have helped the team succeed and more. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
McCrimmon says Max Pacioretty is ready to go for Knights playoffs - Video
Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon spoke about Max Pacioretty's health, return to the team and how much he plans to involve him in the playoffs. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Max Pacioretty to return to the Golden Knights for game 1 - VIDEO
Two world class goalies for the Knights - VIDEO
VGK to play Chicago in round one - VIDEO
Golden Knights take top seed - VIDEO
Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer faces unique challenges this season during the playoffs.
Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer faces unique challenges this season during the Stanley Cup playoffs. DeBoer, who was hired by Vegas on Jan. 15, had the team jelling before the coronavirus pandemic paused the season. Now, the Knights are counting on him to find the right buttons to push again. during the strangest postseason in NHL history.
DeBoer on Pacioretty's timetable for return, Martinez on team camaraderie - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer discusses how the team has performed without their leading scorer, Max Pacioretty, and talks about when he could return to the team. Defenseman Alec Martinez discusses what the team needs to do on the ice to stay competitive and more. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DeBoer, Smith preview their match against the Avalanche - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer and forward Reilly Smith preview their upcoming game against the Colorado Avalanche at a news conference on Friday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights on fan-less atmosphere
The Golden Knights talk about the atmosphere inside Rogers Place in the NHL Edmonton bubble.
Golden Knights want to win the round robin - VIDEO
Fleury, Stone star in Apple commercial for iPhone 11 Pro - Video
Apple gave the Las Vegas Review-Journal a sneak preview of a commercial of theirs starring Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward Mark Stone. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights on unity demonstrations during the Anthem
Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore and head coach Pete DeBoer comment on the team's plans to demonstrate during the National Anthem and the importance of displaying unity.
Knights coach gives an update on Max Pacioretty's status - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach updates on the status of Max Pacioretty during a news conference. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fan sendoff - VIDEO
Golden Knights fans gather for a sendoff as the team heads to Edmonton for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Golden Knights wrap training camp - VIDEO
The Golden Knights have wrapped up training camp and will depart to their playoff bubble in Edmonton Sunday.
Oscar Dansk staying with William Karlsson - Video
William Karlsson and Oscar Dansk go over their experiencing rooming together during the pandemic. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shea Theodore on re-energizing his game - Video
Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore goes over his decision to play, and coach Pete DeBoer says he believes Theodore can make it back to the level he was at before the pause. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights react to Seattle Kraken - Video
The Golden Knights react to the new name of the Seattle expansion team in the NHL. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nicolas Roy Talks Performance This Season - Video
Nicolas Roy goes over his performance this season and being able to prove himself.
Knights Alex Tuch Excited to Compete at Full Strength - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch talks about returning to full strength, the synergy he and his line are playing with and getting a second chance to prove himself in the playoffs. Head coach Pete DeBoer gives his thoughts on Tuch's return as well. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights' Zach Whitecloud takes pride in executing on the ice - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud talks about getting support from his coaches, executing effectively on the ice, especially on the penalty kill. He also explains how he attempts to curb his love for ice cream ahead of the NHL playoffs. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Max Pacioretty misses Golden Knights scrimmage on Monday - video
Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty did not participate in Monday morning’s scrimmage at City National Arena due to unknown reasons.
Golden Knights Hold Scrimmage At Practice - Video
Golden Knights players and coach Pete DeBoer talk about holding a training camp scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Knights call ups battle for tickets to Edmonton - VIDEO
VGK 3rd line ready to go - VIDEO
Peter DeBoer on Choosing a Team Captain - Video
Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer speaks on choosing a team captain before the start of the next season.
Robin Lehner on Training Camp - Video
Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner talks about the progress of training camp and head coach Peter Deboer speaks about Lehner's performance at practice.
The Golden Knights began their second training camp of the season on Monday
The Knights’ high level of participation in small-group workouts in the past month helped the team hit the ground running Monday.
Golden Knights On New Phase of Practice - Video
The Golden Knights head into phase 3 of their practice and are looking to quickly get back into their groove before heading back on the ice.
THE LATEST