Tuesday morning, the Buffalo Sabres announced they’ve signed former 1st overall pick Rasmus Dahlin to a 3 year, $6 million AAV contract. Dahlin will still be a restricted free agent in 2023-24 when this newly signed contract is up. This move puts the Sabres $3,697,763 million over the cap floor and have no more restricted free agents to sign.
The 21-year-old Swedish defenseman has played 197 NHL games, producing 18 goals and 89 assists for 109 points in that span. In the 2018-19 season, Dahlin finished third in Calder voting for the NHL’s best rookie behind Elias Petterson and Jordan Binnington.
Since his rookie season, Rasmus Dahlin ranks tied for 20th with Erik Karlsson among all NHL defensemen in points. This ranks him above players like: Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, Jared Spurgeon, Aaron Ekblad, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Charlie McAvoy, Ivan Proverov, and Miro Heiskanen.
Dahlin struggled through the first half of the 2021 season, potentially giving the Sabres pause on a longer-term deal. Though like most evaluations from Ralph Krueger’s coaching tenure, that poor stretch of play should be taken with a grain of salt. Dahlin was among a handful of players to take a step forward under Don Granato and his high-pace system.
With the departures of Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen and Brandon Montour, all signs point towards Dahlin seeing an increased role and becoming a leader on the backend. Of the defenseman on the roster in 2020-21, no player played with Dahlin more than Henri Jokiharju. The two had almost 500 minutes of on ice time together. Jokiharju signed his own 3 year contract worth $2.5 million AVV contract back on September 2nd.
Swedish teammates are excited he’s sticking around too. Victor Olofsson and Rasmus Asplund took to Instagram to celebrate the news.