Long considered the gem of the 2018 NHL draft, the 6-2 defender has done nothing but cement his status as the top prospect for the NHL draft, and is a virtual lock to be just the third defenceman chosen first overall since 1997.
Dahlin has been wowing scouts in the SHL for the past two seasons with his exciting end-to-end rushes, and then brought his Highlight Reel show to the WJC where he had a few forays that had scouts and fans alike shaking their heads even if he wasn’t able to finish any plays. Dahlin finished among the points leaders on defence and was named the Best Defenceman in the WJC, a rare honour for a 17-year-old in a “19-year-old’s tournament.”
NHL Scouts Comments
Oct. 21, 2017 – He gets most of it done with size and skill. I think he’s cocky, certainly he has no fear about doing risky things. His sense isn’t poor; I just don’t know if it’s elite. If it is elite he’ll be the best defenceman of all time. Dahlin is bigger..and he’s talented. He’s a Hedman-type.
Jan. 17, 2018 – I would think he’s the top guy. He’s just got everything that you want. Size, skating, puck skills. He was probably more of an offensive kid last year at the World Juniors he wasn’t’ really depended on to be a defensive stalwart. I thought he showed a way better two-way game now. You’re going to to get a good mix of being able to defend and be in those situations, and obviously be on the power play and on the ice when you need a goal. He’s got size and can skate and has skills, so all-purpose.
I haven’t seen him shoot a ton. they don’t tee him up for a one-timer, it’s more of a distributor. He will shoot it but he doesn’t really blast it…gets it too the net. Usually, the guys that tee it up are the ones with the big shots..but we don’t know. Here’s a guy who barely plays with his peers. If he did you’d see a more dominant role. For a 17-year-old to play in that tournament. He’s trying to get his game right…sometimes that hinders a guy a bit because they don’t get to work on things..like their point shot. When I saw him play in the league I saw him play defensively…play safer. I already know he’s got the other side.
But there’s a lot of assuming that he’s got that offensive side. When do we see it? Maybe in April at the U-18. I think what makes him intriguing is his size..usually, the skill level he has is with the 5-11 guys, yet the 5-11 guys often aren’t great defenders; this guy can defend. So it’s a good mix. I think his sense his good, I think all his attributes are good, he doesn’t really excel at anything in particular, except that he’s just good.
I have him in the same mix as those other top guys for the draft. I probably have him ahead, but I don’t score him any higher than those guys at this point. I’m just he’s a top pairing defence,an..probably a #1. The other guys are forwards that aren’t looking like first-line centers..they’re wingers. So…when I give him that number I’m not really giving him “franchise player” or anything like that…not yet anyway. If he’s anything close to a Hedman I’ll be really happy.
Jan. 22, 2018 – I think at the World Juniors he locked up number one, I don’t think anyone can knock him out of that. In the two games that mattered the most, he jacked it up. He was pretty flawless against Canada.
His skating is so good..he makes it look so easy. It’s so easy for us to criticize..we all forget that he’s 17…turning 18 years old. He’s always played up above. That’s a 20-year old’s tournament. He’s played with the men, he’s going to the Olympics with the men..we’ve never seen him with the U-18 team. He’s always playing ahead. So it’s not easy, especially if you’re a defenceman, a little easier if you’re a winger.
That’s a problem because Swedish defencemen…you always see them use a wrist shot or a snapshot. They teach that I guess…that’s what the coaches want I guess. It drives me nuts; shoot the puck.