BUFFALO – In his second NHL preseason game, rookie Rasmus Dahlin endured a few rocky moments, committing some notable turnovers in the Sabres’ 3-2 loss.
If the gaffes rattled Dahlin, 18, you couldn’t tell. That of, course, is hardly surprising.
Amid all the hype surrounding him, the Swedish defenseman keeps showcasing a maturity that belies his young age.
“(Stuff) out there happened but you learn,” Dahlin said Saturday inside KeyBank Center.
The first overall pick used another word, not “stuff.”
Like any youngster, Dahlin needs time to acclimate. He struggled at times against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On a power play late in the first period, veteran Patrick Marleau, 39, stripped him at the blue line and roared off on a breakaway goalie Carter Hutton stymied.
Mistakes like that could be a harbinger for the next several weeks or even months. Sure, Dahlin possesses loads of talent. But so do plenty of veteran players.
Marleau, a 535-goal scorer, entered the NHL 21 years ago next month, more than two and a half years before Dahlin was born.
“He’s a young man, he’s going to make mistakes,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said of Dahlin. “One thing that’s going to be one of the hardest things for him, just knowing who he’s playing against and just personnel on everyone’s team and their characteristics. That’s going to take some time to get to know the players he’s playing against.
“He’s pretty cool and calm. We’re going to have some growing pains at times, but I like that he still makes the plays, though. He’ll make a mistake, he’s not afraid. He’s very confident in his abilities and we are, too. As we move forward, I think he’ll learn from these things. He’s a very smart hockey player.”
In other news, the Sabres assigned forward Tyler Randell to the Rochester Americans today.
Update: The Sabres announced tonight they will hold a news conference Monday afternoon with former captain Brian Gionta.
Gionta, 39, hasn’t played since signing with the Boston Bruins late last season, shortly after captaining Team USA’s Olympic squad.
The Greece native captained the Sabres from 2014 to 2017.