BUFFALO – In the Sabres’ 48-year existence, players of all talents wore No. 26 before the team awarded the digits to defenseman Rasmus Dahlin today.
Two-time 40-goal scorer Thomas Vanek sported it. So did Randy Wyrozub, one of the franchise’s first players. The Sabres issued the number 20 times before Dahlin, according to hockey-reference.com.
But because the number now belongs to Dahlin, there is a very good chance no one will ever wear it again. Get used to seeing No. 26 Dahlin jerseys all over town for a long time.
“I’ll take what I got,” said Dahlin, who apparently didn’t choose the number. “I’m pretty excited to see what it is.”
The Sabres introduced an excited Dahlin, the first overall pick on Friday, during a news conference this morning inside the KeyBank Center pavilion. They gave him his jersey after it ended.
The Swedish mega-prospect, of course, is expected to help transform a team that has become a laughingstock.
Clearly, Dahlin is excited and proud to be with the Sabres. On Saturday, the second day of the NHL Draft, he was walking around American Airlines Center in Dallas wearing his No. 18 jersey (for 2018).
Dahlin might’ve only been the only pick from Friday still wearing his jersey.
“It was my best time in my life,” said Dahlin, who wore No. 26 last season with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League. “To be able to be a part of the Buffalo Sabres, why don’t be proud and have the jersey on?”
Check back later for more on Dahlin
Some other quick notes from Sabres general manager Jason Botterill:
The Sabres are moving on from Antipin, a Russian who compiled 10 assists in 47 games as a rookie last season.
“We were really impressed with him,” Botterill said. “I know things didn’t go maybe as well as he wanted on the ice, but off the ice, he fit in with our locker room really well. He was a player that came over that struggled with the English language, did all the lessons.”
Not tendering Wilson is related to arbitration. Botterill said the Sabres want to re-sign him when free agency opens Sunday.
Wilson compiled six goals and 14 points in 48 games last season.
Update: the Sabres have officially given qualifying offers to forwards Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, Sean Malone, Danny O’Regan, Sam Reinhart and C.J. Smith.