Buffalo Sabres sign Rasmus Dahlin to 3-year deal worth $18 million; is Canucks’ Quinn Hughes next?

The Buffalo Sabres have just announced a new 3 year-deal worth $18 million for defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.

Dahlin, 21, was a RFA coming into training camp with little news at to the progress of talks. Unlike Brady Tkachuk in Ottawa, who was left off the Senators camp roster, Dahlin was included. That was a promising sign that culminated in a new contract.

Sabres sign Rasmus Dahlin

rasmus dahlin contract
Apr 23, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his goal with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (26) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Dahlin scored 5 goals and 18 assists for 23 points in 56 games this past season. The young defenseman has struggled at times but has produced despite the dysfunction in Buffalo. For his career, he’s registered a total of 107 points in 197 games.

“His way to play was how I learned to play hockey,” Dahlin said of Granato after the season. “But the thing I felt was that he trusted me as a player. He really saw what my potential was, and I felt comfortable playing out there. I wasn’t thinking too much.”

Sabres Press Release

This bridge deal will take Dahlin to RFA status with arbitration rights when it’s over in 2024.

Buffalo selected the Sweden native with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. He was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2018-19, when he led rookie defensemen with 44 points.

In his first two seasons, Dahlin had 84 points before turning 20 — second most in NHL history behind Phil Housley.

Housley also did it with the Sabres, his first stop in a long Hall of Fame career.

The Sabres will hold their first training camp practice on Thursday. They open the season at home Oct. 14 against the Montreal Canadiens.

Is Quinn Hughes next?

Elliotte Friedman noted in his recent 32 Thoughts Podcast that both agents for Dahlin and Canucks’ Quinn Hughes could be waiting to see who signs first.

“The rumors on Dahlin have been all over the map. Several months ago, I heard things started very well. Then I heard Buffalo wanted short term not because of anything Dahlin did (or didn’t do), but because of overall frustration and desire not to commit long,” Friedman wrote. “Now the defense market has exploded. It’s possible Dahlin, Hughes and their representatives are watching to see who goes first.”

A similar bridge deal for Hughes makes a lot more sense now.

-Field Level Media contributed to this report