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How Will the Upgraded Buffalo Sabres Contend In 2018-2019?

 

07/17/2018 – Will the Buffalo Sabres be competitive this upcoming 2018-2019 season? Consider the additions of Rasmus Dahlin — the Swedish born defenseman that was picked first overall in 2018’s NHL draft, and center Casey Mittelstadt — an American-born 2017 eighth overall NHL draft pick.

We’ve all seen the Instagram videos of Mittelstadt and Dahlin obliterating competition at the Sabre’s Development Camp and U-20 2018 World Junior Championship (WJC 2018) — but how do you think they will fair in the National Hockey League (NHL)?  Lets look at some highlight reel before going into deeper details.

Mittelstatd at the Sabres Development Camp

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Silllllky mitts, @cmittelstadt! ? @buffalosabres

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-Mittelstadt scoring a highlight reel goal at the WJC 2018

Dahlin toe drags a defenseman and then scores off a beautiful shot at WJC 2017.

-Here Dahlin shows his incredible on-ice vision with a home run breakaway pass to a teammate

 

Dahlin (6’3, 185lbs) — has been slated as the NHL’s next top blueliner and is compared to all-time greats and Norris Trophy winners: Niklas Lidstrom, Erik Karlsson, and Brian Leetch.

The 18-year-old Dahlin does it all: a prolific goal scorer and play maker, powerplay catalyst, throws big hits and is responsible in his defensive zone.

Noteworthy fact: Dahlin’s chance of being a successful NHL player is nearly 100%, and here’s the explanation:

  • ‘Corsi-for percentage’ is the most valuable metric used to predict whether a player will be successful in the NHL. Most players / teams will have between 40-60%, while the 55% range is elite player / team range.
  • A players corsi-for percentage determines the amount of quality scoring opportunities (shots on goal, missed shots, and blocked shots) a team generated while the player was on the ice — divided by the other teams overall Corsi-for percentage.
  • Playing for HC Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) last 2017-2018 season — one of Europe’s top pro leagues, Dahlin had the second best Corsi-for percentage in the league at 66.15%.*
  • So basically: Frolunda consistently had puck possession and generated the most quality scoring opportunities while Dahlin was on the ice. He finished the year with 20 points (seven goals and thirteen assists.)

Guiding team Sweden to a silver medal at the 2018 U-20 WJC — Dahlin finished second place in tournament assists (six in seven games), and was third highest in tournament points amongst defenseman. He also was a +7 and had 25 shots on goal (SOG).

 

-Highlight of an epic deke against Team Russia at WJC 2018

-Dahlin is a multi-dimentional player in that he plays physical and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

 

Casey Mittelstadt (Center, 6’1, 201lbs) – Mittelstadt is a high energy player and a threat for the other team every time he’s on the ice. He’s brings a full package of skill, speed and hockey IQ.

His 2018 season was nothing short of herculean: averaged 1.57 points per game at the 2018 WJC, and finished as the tournament MVP / leading point scorer, with 11 points (four goals and seven assists) in seven games.

-Averaged .88 points per game as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, with 11 goals and 19 assists (30 points) in 34 games.

Lastly, Mittelstadt played in the final six games of the season for the Sabres and finished with five points (one goal, four assists). He had a .49 Corsi-for percentage as well.

 

The additions of Mittelstadt and Dahlin could transform the Sabre’s into a competitive franchise — they’ll have a formidable powerplay; increased puck possession time / more quality scoring opportunities; and help elevate teammate Jack Eichel’s career — a two-time NHL All-Star, to a higher level needed for success in the Atlantic division.

It would also be great if Alexander Nylander, Buffalo’s 2017 eighth overall draft pick, could  step in and be a contributor. He’s due.

Rasmus Asplund (5’11, 176lbs), a defenseman who the Sabres signed this summer and was their 2016 33rd draft pick, could be of big help as well in solidifying existing problems on the blueline.

So, once again, how do you think the Sabre’s will fair this coming season?

 

 

 

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