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Player Report Card: Rasmus Dahlin

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NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo SabresTimothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Rasmus Dahlin had an up and down second season in the NHL

Total Season Stats: 59 GP | 4 G | 36 A | 40 PTS

Age: 19

Contract Status: Signed through 2020-21 ($925,000)

Buffalo defender Rasmus Dahlin gave the Sabres a solid sophomore season in the truncated year. It was an odd curve for the youthful Swede, who is performing at a rate on par with some of the great defensemen of all time. He started the season uncharacteristically sloppy, and was interrupted by an injury. He came back from that injury reenergized, looking like the world-class player we all knew he could be.

On paper, it was a spectacular season. With nearly 25 fewer games and 2 minutes less on the ice per night, Dahlin managed to nearly match his points total from his rookie year. Though he finished third in Calder voting last season, Dahlin had a great year, and so it was unsurprising to see him improve in many ways.

With 2.10 points per 60, he jumped from 1.53. The mark is eighth in the league among defenders who played more than 45 games. He did so on a team that was 21st in the league in goals-for per game; essentially, Dahlin outperformed his team...which is...again, unsurprising.

In his final 25 games, he offered two goals and 17 assists. His production was a huge help toward righting a very wronged power play, boosted by the return of Victor Oloffson. He had two points against Washington, which didn’t reflect his shootout goal that got his team on track for the win. It was his team’s last win of the season.

Rasmus Dahlin shootout goal! #Sabres50 #AllCaps pic.twitter.com/6h7tX6mGDA

— Buffalo Hockey moments (@SabresPlays) March 10, 2020

It’s not often that a 19 year old emerges as the leader of a defensive core, but as the season progressed, this seemed to be the case for Dahlin and for the Sabres. It was disappointing to see the year likely come to an end, if for no other reason than Dahlin was improving with each game.

There’s no telling what next year will look like, and it’s obvious some changes need to be made to the roster if the Sabres hope to improve. Fortunately, Dahlin is among a handful of players that make the team almost worth watching on a night-to-night basis.

Season Grade: A-

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