The Buffalo Sabres have won the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes. Buffalo has one of the most hockey-rabid fan bases in the entire league and their faith has been rewarded with the chance to plant a franchise player on the blue line. After years of suffering with bottom of the standings finishes and placing second in the Connor McDavid race, the Sabres finally have the top choice.
Buffalo’s draw was revealed during the second period intermission of Game Two of the Vegas Golden Knights-San Jose Sharks series, after picks #4-#15 had been revealed earlier in the night. Vaulting their way into the top three was Carolina, who had a 70% chance of picking 12th overall. Instead, the Hurricanes now sit with the second overall pick to add to their collection of young talent, which has implications in terms of getting a chance at selecting a lethal goal scorer in Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina, or Brady Tkachuk.
Montreal’s suffering through the 2017-18 season was eased a bit by getting the third overall pick and a shot at a talent who should be on NHL ice come fall, giving them the goal scorer they so desperately need. They could also go back to addressing the blue line with several high-end options available at the top of the draft, but scoring is a need and Zadina, Svechnikov, or Tkachuk would help with that need.
Dahlin has been pegged as the #1 overall choice for a while now and is projected to dramatically change the fortunes of whichever team won the rights to draft him. Buffalo won that right, tonight.
The top fifteen picks in the 2018 NHL Draft are as follows:
#1- Buffalo Sabres
#2- Carolina Hurricanes
#3- Montreal Canadiens
#4- Ottawa Senators
#5- Arizona Coyotes
#6- Detroit Red Wings
#7- Vancouver Canucks
#8- Chicago Blackhawks
#9- N.Y. Rangers
#11- N.Y. Islanders
#12- N.Y. Islanders (from Calgary)
#13- Dallas Stars
#14- Philadelphia Flyers (from St. Louis)
#15- Florida Panthers