While Nico Hischier used the World Junior Championships a year ago to propel him to be the top pick in the 2017 draft, that hasn’t been needed for Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the consensus No. 1 overall pick for the upcoming 2018 draft. However, no matter how secure Dahlin has that spot locked, he has done more than enough in this tournament to prove his worth, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.
On the final day of preliminary-round play, Dahlin is tied for the lead in points in the tournament with six and that’s as a 17-year-old. Most of the top players are 19. However, his play is what has garnered the most attention.
“Rasmus Dahlin is to a franchise what McDavid and Matthews have meant to the Oilers and Maple Leafs,” TSN director of scouting Craig Button said. “He is to defencemen what those two guys are to centremen. He is a No. 1, elite defencemen who can play in the NHL right now. Right now.”
Seravalli adds that while Team Canada won’t decide until Jan. 11 whether to use major junior players for the Olympics, Dahlin could be the first player to go from the World Juniors to the Olympics since Eric Lindros did it in 1992.
- The Providence Journal’s Mark Divver tweets that Winnipeg Jets winger Brandon Tanev will be out two to three weeks with a lower-body injury. The 26-year-old Tanev has been a regular for the Jets, having put up three goals and 10 points in 39 games so far this season.
- Jonas Siegel of The Athletic tweets that Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said that defenseman Nikita Zaitsev might return by Jan. 16. The team needs help on defense after falling 6-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. “The reality is whoever you play on a nightly basis has to be able to play and sometimes when you play quick teams (like) tonight some guys get exposed and that was evident,” Babcock said.
- Adam Vingan of the Tennessean writes that now that the Nashville Predators have assigned Frederick Gaudreau to Milwaukee of the AHL, the team has an open roster spot. He adds that defenseman Ryan Ellis, who has been out all season after undergoing knee surgery, has been cleared to play and the team may have opened up a roster spot for his return. It was reported earlier that Ellis’ targeted return was on Jan. 2.