Is Rasmus Dahlin another Nicklas Lidstrom? He leads Calder Trophy candidates – USA TODAY


SportsPulse: NHL insider Kevin Allen details his 2018-19 season projections and who’s winning it all. USA TODAY

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is the top candidate to win the rookie of the year.(Photo: Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports)

Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel said what you don’t see in rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is as important as what you do see.

No panic. No wasted energy. No indecision.

“What I’ve noticed is how effortless it is for him,” Eichel said. “How smooth he is, catching a pass and shooting the puck. He reminds me of (Nicklas) Lidstrom a little bit.”

Eichel knows that will raise eyebrows because Lidstrom is a one of the greatest of all-time.

“It’s a crazy comparison,” he said. “But (Dahlin) isn’t physical, and he gets his stick on a lot of pucks and reads the play well. To me, it’s about how he sees everything.”

Dahlin, the No. 1 pick from this past draft, may the NHL’s most talked-about rookie defenseman since Denis Potvin was drafted No. 1 in 1973. Even though only one defenseman has been named rookie of the year in the past eight years, Dahlin is our preseason pick to win the Calder Trophy.

More: NHL 2018-19 season predictions

More: NHL point projections: How we see the 2018-19 season unfolding

Here are others in the top 10:

2. Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson: After winning the Swedish League’s scoring championship (56 points in 44 games) and being named playoff MVP, Pettersson has been called Vancouver’s most exciting prospect since Pavel Bure.

This youngster has superstar ability, including a heavy shot. He might be the favorite to lead all rookies in points.

What kind

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