The player that has been deemed the clear-cut #1 pick in the 2018 draft to the lucky lottery winner and “is to defensemen in this coming draft, exactly what McDavid and Matthews were to elite centers” (TSN’s Bob McKenzie). Rasmus Dahlin has everything it takes to excel in the National Hockey League and will be a 1st pairing D-Man for most of, if not all of his career. Playing in the Swedish Hockey League for the Frolunda HC since he was 16 years of age, Dahlin has not only improved his game but has made himself a human highlight reel. When spectators watch him play, they can understand why he’s such a sought-after player. Ray Ferraro claims that he, “defends like Lidström, skates like Karlsson” and he’s only going to be 18 this year. In Frolunda this season, he has 7 goals and 13 assists for 20 points in 41 games while playing in a league in which the average age is 26.16 years old. If that doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will. I had the chance to watch him during this year’s IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo and I was nervous any time he had the puck against Team USA. I had every right to be. In the semifinals of the tournament against the US, Dahlin made it seem like he was playing in a house league with children. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.
He’s leaps and bounds ahead of players his age and in my opinion, better than some young defenseman in the NHL today. If he isn’t better when he begins his NHL career, he will be within a year or 2. He’s that good. His hockey sense and his otherworldly ability to create scoring chances out of what seem like innocent scenarios are in my mind some of the key elements that places him far, far away at 1st in this draft. No other player comes remotely close to him. He’s still growing but is already 6 foot 2 and 183 lbs at nearly 18 years old. If, and I mean when he’s taken 1st overall at this years draft, he would be the first defenseman to be drafted 1st overall since Aaron Ekblad in 2014 and the 2nd Swede ever drafted 1st overall since Mats Sundin was drafted by the Québec Nordiques in 1989. It’s going to be a great time watching him play against the best players in the world, so strap in and enjoy the ride. Up next in Draft Profiles, I’m going to be looking closer at the argument for number 2 in the draft. Andrei Svechnikov, or Filip Zadina.