Sabres' Dahlin comes in third for the Calder Trophy

Canucks forward Elias Petterson won the award; Victor Hedman had a lot of good things to say about Dahlin

Paul Hamilton
June 19, 2019 - 10:42 pm

Photo: Paul Hamilton (@pham1717)

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Las Vegas, NV (WGR 550) - Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin finished third in the voting for the Calder Trophy. Elias Pettersson of Vancouver won the trophy at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Dahlin participated in his first NHL Red Carpet Event before the Awards. He told me that he was very nervous, “Yes I am, I’m feeling pretty awkward.”

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Dahlin did look uptight, but he knew once things got underway, he’d be fine, “It’s just going to be fun, when I sit down, everything will go away and I’ll enjoy the time at the Awards and have some fun.”

Being in Las Vegas, there’s a lot of glitz to this. Dahlin had said Vegas was his favorite NHL city to visit, so it was going about like he thought it would, “Yes, I think so walking around with all these good players is fun so yes, this is what I expected.”

It wasn’t only hockey players in attendance. Jon Hamm, Miss Universe, Miss USA, Kurt Busch and Kenan Thompson were also in Vegas for the event. Dahlin said, “These are people I’ve only seen on TV, so it’s fun.”

Many feel Dahlin will be back in Vegas competing for the Norris Trophy. He said, “Hopefully yes, it’s what I want.”

Victor Hedman won the Norris in 2018 and finished third this year to Mark Giordano of Calgary and Brent Burns of San Jose. Hedman thinks his fellow Swede will challenge for the league’s best defenseman very soon, “Yes I hope so. I hope I’m still competing for it, but he will for sure, so he has the maturity that he plays with and the upside of his game, you can’t measure that, so I’m very happy to see the way he plays and to keep that high level over 82 games is impressive.”

Hedman was taken second overall in 2009 behind John Tavares. He knows the pressures Dahlin faced this season being the first overall pick, “Going as a top pick, there’s always going to be pressure on you to be a difference maker right away, but following him from afar, he handled all the pressure, I’m very impressed with the way he’s done that, so he’s a high quality player.”

In November, the Sabres will play the Lightning twice in Sweden. Hedman is happy that Dahlin and another Swedish Sabre will be there, “In the summers I work out with Victor Olofsson too, so I hope he gets to be there. Linus Ullmark is also from my hometown, so it’ll be a dream come true for us to come home and play an NHL game in our home country.”

Dahlin has told me more than once that Olofsson has the best shot he’s ever seen. Hedman said, “His release in unbelievable. I skate with him in the summer and seeing his release, it’s not a fluke he scored a lot of goals in the AHL and two in the NHL and hopefully when I play against him we can put a stop to that.”

Pettersson was happy to be hanging out with Dahlin in Vegas. He said, “Yes, we played with each other at the World Juniors, so it’s more fun to play with him than against him.

“He’s great, everybody knows how good he is, he played in the NHL as an 18-year-old and doing what he’s doing is really fun to see.”

Dahlin was selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team:

  • FW - Elias Petterson - Vancouver
  • FW - Brady Tkachuk - Ottawa
  • FW - Anthony Cirelli - Tampa Bay
  • D - Rasmus Dahlin - Buffalo
  • D - Miro Heiskanen - Dallas
  • G - Jordan Binnington - St. Louis
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