BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin can’t remember when it finally clicked for him, but at some point early last season, he stopped trying to impress others. He no longer cared what they thought about him.
Dahlin, 22, became comfortable in his own skin and quickly developed confidence. His play took off, and by February, he had earned his first spot in the NHL All-Star Game.
“I realized early last season that if I’m myself and not trying to be anyone, that’s going to help me on the ice,” Dahlin said Thursday following the first sessions of training camp at KeyBank Center. “I just keep doing that every day. Some guys are probably not going to like it. Some guys love it. I don’t know. I don’t really care.
“I just want to try and be myself. That helps me on the ice.”
On the ice, Dahlin, the first overall pick in 2018, possesses so much talent he could soon rank among the NHL’s elite defenseman. He’s one of only a handful of players capable of taking over a game when he grabs the puck.
Last year, the Swede, who’s beginning his fifth season, settled down and began to understand just how good he can be. For years, his competitiveness got the best of him, and he put too much pressure on himself and had trouble letting go of mistakes.
“I sure have a lot of years in the league…