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Rasmus Dahlin is the clear frontrunner for the 2018 NHL Draft. The young Swedish defenceman is in a class of his own in this draft, and it is a pretty safe bet that he will be the top pick, no matter who wins the draft lottery. Playing against men in the SHL, Dahlin has scored 20 points in 41 games for Frolunda this season. He added six points in seven games at the World Juniors and was named the best defenceman in the tournament, winning a silver medal. He even made the Swedish team for the Pyeongchang Olympics, though only played in two games.
Rasmus Dahlin Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born April 13, 2000 — Trollhättan, Sweden
Height 6’2″ — Weight 183 lbs [189 cm / 83 kg]
The key to Rasmus Dahlin’s game begins with his outstanding skating. He has very good speed and outstanding acceleration in both directions. His skating is sublime and at times he seems to be floating above the ice. Dahlin has outstanding pivots, agility, and edge work. This allows him to cover all areas of the ice, and transition quickly from offence to defence. Dahlin is strong on the puck, but should get even stronger, and continue to improve his balance as he adds muscle.
Dahlin is an elite offensive defenceman, who has been playing above his age group for quite some time, both at the international and club level. Dahlin’s passing ability is outstanding, with extremely good vision and the ability to thread the needle through the smallest openings. He can start the rush, make the long breakaway pass, and quarterback the power-play. He also has an outstanding slap shot and one-timer. Dahlin moves the puck out of the zone quickly. He utilizes his skating and strong first pass to start the transition game.
Dahlin’s creativity and hockey sense are off the charts. He makes plays that other defenders would not even dream of trying. His strong skating allows him to walk the line, and to open up passing and shooting lanes. Couple this with the stickhandling to elude defenders one-on-one and the skating to beat them as well, and he is one of the most dynamic offensive defencemen in years.
Dahlin is also very effective defensively, utilizing his strong positioning as well as the good stick-checking ability to shut down forwards on the rush. He keeps them to the outside and has good gap control. He is not the most physical player, though that may come with more time, and added weight. Dahlin is willing to use his body to fight in the corners and to knock an attacker off the puck, but he does not throw a lot of big hits. In this way he keeps himself in position, and is ready for the next play. When a defensive zone turnover is created, he moves the puck up the ice and transitions quickly to offense.
Projection and Comparison
Dahlin is quite simply the best draft defence prospect we have seen in a decade. Terms like “generational talent” are thrown around often but in Dahlin’s case it is very much deserved. The sky is the limit as far as his potential goes. Now in terms of a style (not talent) comparison, he has the offensive game of an Erik Karlsson, with the defensive game of Drew Doughty. He should be in the NHL and a big-time contributor next season.
The following is a compilation of some of the many highlight packages of Dahlin that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Main Photo Credit: BUFFALO, NY – JANUARY 5: Rasmus Dahlin #8 of Sweden and Dillon Dubé #9 of Canada in play during the Gold medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship at KeyBank Center on January 5, 2018 in Buffalo, New York. Canada beat Sweden 3-1. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)