Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill said he hasn’t stopped smiling since Friday night.
With good reason.
In obtaining Rasmas Dahlin with the top pick in the 2018 NHL draft, Botterill not only got his man, he got a top notch player who genuinely wants to be in Buffalo and already takes pride in wearing the blue and gold.
“When you watch a player on the ice and he gets you real excited. Then you go through the interview process and you get to know this player. His personality and how much passion he has for the game and for his family,” Botterill said. “It gives you a lot of comfort in making this selection. We’ve talked a lot about people. If we’re gonna change things in Buffalo, we have to have players who are excited about being in Buffalo. Who want to be part of our community here. You’ve seen that with some of our core guys, what they do in the community. It’s impressive and Rasmus wants to be part of that.”
Rasmus Dahlin was formerly introduced during a press conference Monday morning at KeyBank Center.
“I’ve been waiting for this for so long,” Dahlin said.
Dahlin’s genuine pride in being a Sabre was on full display during the draft in Dallas. Most notably on Day Two when he could be seen walking around American Airlines Arena still wearing his Sabres jersey.
“It was one of the best times in my life,” Dahlin said.
While Dahlin is thrilled to be a Buffalo Sabre, the cold reality is that he is walking into a franchise that has finished dead last in three of the last five years. A team that is still struggling to find its way back to respectability.
A team with a fan base that is tired of waiting. They want results. Now.
“I’m just so motivated to win hockey games,” Dahlin said. “So I’ll bring everything I can to this team. Try to win hockey games. That’s what I think about.”
Botterill said that he doesn’t view Dahlin as having to be the savior. He is simply another important part of the puzzle to turning things around.
“He doesn’t need to be the savior,” Botteril said.
“It’s a situation where we’re excited about our young players such as Jack (Eichel), Sam (Reinhart) and Rasmus Ristolainen. He can be part of this group and grow together.”
Botterill added that without question they need to see better results on the ice, but in talks that he has had with players since the draft the team is excited about what Dahlin can bring to the team.
It’s already known that Dahlin’s game features the traits that Sabres head coach Phil Housley wants to highlight in his playbook.
For Dahlin, to be able to play for a Hall of Famer like Housley is a great opportunity.
“It means he knows everything about hockey,” Dahlin said.
“He knows what he’s talking about.”
Botterill said that now it’s up to the staff to bring Dahlin along and help him realize his potential.
The first major step will take place this Wednesday when the Sabres start their four-day development camp.
“Its been a busy time,” Dahlin said. “Finally I’ll get on the ice, developing me. Start training with the Buffalo Sabres. It couldn’t be better.”
The presser wrapped up with Botterill handing Dahlin his Sabre jersey with the No.26 on it.
— Frank Wolf (@wolf3328) June 25, 2018
After development camp, Dahlin will head back to Sweden. Then return to Buffalo in August.
Botterill once again confirmed that the team will not be extending qualifying offers to goalie Robin Lehner, defenseman Viktor Antipin or forward Scott Wilson.
Botterill noted that the Wilson situation is more because of arbitration and that the team is hopeful to have a deal done with Wilson after July 1.
But the team is moving forward without Lehner and Antipin. Matt Moulson will not be back either.