Rönnberg: Dahlin is a 'true winner'

It's Dahlin Week in Buffalo as the Sabres will likely select the Swedish defenseman first overall on Friday

Brayton Wilson
June 18, 2018 - 1:09 pm

Photo: Mark Blinch - The Canadian Press via AP

It is finally draft week for the Buffalo Sabres as they are set to make their pick with the first overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. With that first pick, the Sabres are likely to take Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin from the Frölunda Indians of the Swedish Hockey League.

It has been noted since he entered the spotlight that he could be the best defensive prospect to enter the NHL Draft in several years.

Since the Sabres won the NHL Draft Lottery back on April 28, we have heard from several people around the hockey world on what Dahlin brings to the table and what his future holds for the Sabres and the NHL.

One voice we heard from back on May 2 with Howard and Jeremy was Dahlin's head coach in Frölunda, Roger Rönnberg. Rönnberg has spent the past two years coaching Dahlin, but has also spent time with the defensive phenom when he was a 15-year-old practicing with the team in Gothenburg.

Here is some of what the Frölunda head coach had to say:

Rönnberg on Dahlin's best asset:

"The most special thing for him is his personality, He has the edge that the best players have, he's a true winner. He want's to win everything that he participates in. He's so stubborn. He's the most stubborn player I've ever coached. Every practice, every situation, he's there stepping for his team and he wants to win the game for us. He has the same character as some of the best Swedish players, and I've coached players like Peter Forsberg and those guys. That's the strongest things of his character."

Rönnberg on Dahlin's style of play:

"We call them back here 'quarterbacks' because we think it's a new way of playing defense. He's one of them. He can control the game from the back end, he controls the rhythm over the puck, he knows when to slow it down or when to speed it up, and he's really controlling the rhythm in a game. He's so skilled with the puck, so he can be the difference maker scoring by himself or making guys score."

Rönnberg on his early experiences with Dahlin:

"From the first practices that he had with my team, he was really young. I think he was 15-years-old coming into practice with the mature guys, and right away in the first scrimmage, he was taking off from the blue line...  It just continued from there. In practice, he was doing amazing things with the puck that I don't know if I have ever seen a defenseman playing with that skill set."

Rönnberg on Dahlin's progression through the years:

"He's a quick learner. He's really coachable, he's a great listener, and he has been improving with everything. What I'm most satisfied with is his defensive game. I think he's ready to play on the international level good enough in the defensive zone so a coach can give him ice time to show his best assets. You don't have to hide him anymore. He is good enough to play without the puck, and that's one area I've been trying to focus on with Rasmus."

Rönnberg on what Dahlin needs to work on this summer:

"He is a tall guy, but he needs to build some muscle for the summer. He needs to grow in that part, but he has such great balance on his skates so every battle he goes into he's strong enough already to play against mature guys here in Sweden. He can stop them and separate them from the puck. He's good enough right now to play a solid defensive game. He's not a hitter yet, but I know with his temper that he loves to hit. When he gets bigger, I expect to see a lot of nice open-ice [hits] when he gets a little bit older."

You can re-listen to Rönnberg's entire interview with Howard and Jeremy below:

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