Things have been tough for the Ottawa Senators this season, to say the least.
Less than a year removed from being one win away from making the Stanley Cup Finals, the Senators are now sat third-bottom in the league.
Rasmus Dahlin: The Senators Second Swedish Saviour?
The season has seen the departure of big names in the form of Derick Brassard and Dion Phaneuf and a strong #MelnykOut movement has emerged with fans looking poorly at owner Eugene Melnyk’s management of the team.
The Senators are desperate for something positive and Rasmus Dahlin could be just what they need.
Dahlin, a left-handed defenceman from Sweden, is the top-rated prospect in the 2018 NHL draft and a player that the Senators must fight hard to get.
Rasmus Dahlin is the projected first overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. His highlight reel is insane 😱🔥 pic.twitter.com/wZpVqpwMMn
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) January 12, 2018
Still aged just 17, Dahlin has played 67 games for Frölunda in the SHL (Sweden’s top league) with a strong upturn in his offensive output this season.
In 38 regular season games this season, Dahlin has seven goals and 20 total points whereas his rookie season saw him earn just one goal and three total points in 26 games.
He also has a further goal and an assist in four SHL playoff games so far this season.
His performances at such a young age in a top European league has seen him shoot straight to the top of every draft ranking, making him an ideal left-handed prospect for the defence-needy Senators.
Why they need Rasmus Dahlin
Phaneuf was an obvious move, with a bad contract the team should never have picked up, and Oduya wasn’t as productive as the team had hoped and was lost to waivers.
Methot was a sore spot for many Sens fans, given that the other option was to leave Cody Ceci unprotected in the expansion draft.
Mr. Ottawa remained, to the disappointment of many, and the team is now struggling on the left side.
The right side is fairly stable with star Erik Karlsson leading the way and top youngster Thomas Chabot developing well in the NHL.
But the left side is weak and the players are spending far less time on the ice compared to their right-sided partners.
Adding a top left-handed defenceman should be right at the top of Dorion’s wish list heading into the offseason.
Dahlin should be right at the top of the list for the money-wary Sens, given that Claesson and the injured Chris Wideman are both out of contract at the end of the season.
The 6-foot-2, 183lbs Dahlin could step into Ottawa’s top-six from day one next season and could eventually work his way up to the top pairing alongside fellow countryman Karlsson.
How can the Ottawa Senators get him?
At present, Dorion has one first-round pick at his disposal and it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With the Penguins targeting a three-peat of Stanley Cups, that pick could realistically be 31st overall and leave the Sens nowhere near having a chance at the talented young Swede.
But hope is not lost, thanks to a stipulation of the trade that saw Matt Duchene move to Ottawa from the Colorado Avalanche.
In the deal, the Sens gave Colorado their 2018 first round draft pick, but if that pick lands in the top 10 then the Ottawa Senators can retain that pick and will send their 2019 first-rounder instead.
With the Senators currently sat fourth-bottom in the NHL, with the potential for finishing dead last by the end of the regular season, the team has a much higher chance when the draft lottery comes around.
If the Senators win the lottery and pick first overall, they land the top player in the draft and immediately bring some smiles back to the Canadian Tire Centre.
Karlsson has stated his desire to remain with the team beyond his current deal, but if the team’s management doesn’t make a move to show they are heading in the right direction, things could change over the next 12+ months.
Picking up a top prospect that could play immediately, to give their captain a superbly talented partner, would be a step in the right direction for the Ottawa Senators and one that Dorion cannot afford to pass up.
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