DALLAS — Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin was selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the first pick at the 2018 NHL Draft on June 22 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.
Here is a transcript with 16 questions and answers for the number one selection in the draft:
Q. What’s your reaction to finally having that jersey on?
DAHLIN: Yeah, it’s amazing. I’ve been like finally, yeah, put on the Buffalo Sabres jersey. I’ve been there twice and I love that city. I can’t wait to get everything started.
Q. Were you at all nervous before your name was called?
DAHLIN: Yeah, I was kind of nervous. It was amazing when I heard my name.
Q. What have the last six, seven weeks been like for you? You didn’t want to talk about the Sabres specifically, but you clearly liked Buffalo and embraced it. What has the last month or so been like?
DAHLIN: It’s been a long waiting and you can’t really plan anything, but like finally today, I can plan my future and I love to call my new town Buffalo.
Q. What does it mean to be the first pick?
DAHLIN: Yeah, that’s amazing. Really, much emotions in my body right now, but I can tell you, I’m proud of myself.
Q. You have not wanted to talk about being the building block of the team, but most people are looking at you that way. Understanding that the team has been so poor for so long, how much pressure is there on you, knowing that people are expecting you to be the guy to lift the Sabres?
DAHLIN: I didn’t think about it that way. Only thing I can do, it’s to bring all I can to that team to win hockey games and I’m super excited to do that.
Q. Mats Sundin was the last Swedish player to be picked No. 1 overall. What does that mean to you to be in that same group?
DAHLIN: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. He’s a legend in the hockey world. It’s kind of weird but amazing.
Q. There are a number of Swedish players on Buffalo’s roster already. Does that make it easier for you to transition to this situation?
DAHLIN: Probably. I’m super excited to meet everyone on that team and to try to get a spot on that team. That’s my dream to play in the NHL.
Q. How much have you started looking at the roster and thought about the way you can mix in with those guys?
DAHLIN: Yeah, I know a bunch of guys play on that team and they are skilled guys. Yeah, it’s amazing to be part of that organization and it’s cool to play with those kind of guys.
Q. How much does it excite you to join a system, a team run by Phil Housley, one of the greatest defensemen ever?
DAHLIN: Amazing. That’s a fun style to play, but if he was saying that we are playing a slow game, I would do that, too. I will do whatever the coach says.
Q. What did he say to you?
DAHLIN: Congratulations. I told him that I’m super excited and I can’t wait.
Q. Everybody says you are ready to play in the NHL. Do you think you are ready to play in the NHL?
DAHLIN: I said if I get the chance, 100 percent, to make it – I hope so.
Q. What impression have the fans made on you, their enthusiasm?
DAHLIN: Yeah, they are great fans. I heard so many great things about them. Like they love hockey in that city and I can see that, when they come to me, they know me and I don’t even play in the NHL. So they probably love hockey.
So, yeah, I’ve heard so many great things about them. I’m super excited to meet all the fans.
Q. That happened at the Combine, too?
DAHLIN: Yeah, that happened.
Q. How much of a chance did you get to know Buffalo, being at the World Juniors? Did you experience much of Buffalo?
DAHLIN: Yeah, absolutely. I went to outside the city and to some restaurants. It’s not the biggest city but I came from a small city, so I’m used to that size, so that’s amazing.
Q. How do you block out all the pressure?
DAHLIN: I love to play hockey and why put pressure when you can play the game that you love.
Q. Do you think you can make an impact next year?
DAHLIN: I really hope so. I will try 100 percent to do that.
Main Image: Rasmus Dahlin poses after being selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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