DALLAS – Rasmus Dahlin was smiling when he said that, but you could tell he was a little flustered when asked why he wasn’t selected to the Atlantic Division team at the NHL All-Star Game.
After Tage Thompson was selected to the Buffalo team by the NHL’s Operations Department, the Atlantic players voted into the game by fans were Austin Matthews of Toronto, David Pasternak of Boston and Tampa Bay guard Andrei Vasilevski.
Four Sabers who have endured various kinds of adversity this season took on championship roles in a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
The Atlantic has no defenseman on its roster, and there are only five players in the entire game out of 44 players selected by the NHL and fans. Dahlen won’t go, although he’s second in the NHL among defensemen in both goals (13) and points (52).
“I think the fans want to see the strikers. That’s what it is,” Dahlen told the Buffalo News after skiing Monday morning at the American Airlines Center. “I’m going on vacation and I’m going to have a good time, but obviously I want to be there. That’s how it goes.”
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Of course, the silver lining to the snub is that Dahlin will get more than a week off and continue to warm up to some of his teammates. After the February 1 game against Carolina, the Sabers would not play again until February 11 against Calgary. Dahlin ranks third in the NHL in 26:10 per game, behind Colorado’s Cal Makar (27:09) and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty (26:13), so he can make good use of the time.
Tyler Johnson tied the game with 55.8 seconds left in regulation to help send the game into overtime, and Seth Jones scored the game-winner to let the Sabers lose 4-3.
“The rest is definitely needed,” Dahlen said. “A few of us are going to have a good time. A mental break and also a physical break. So I’m excited about that as well. Some days you have to take your day off if you have to, but I guess the body gets used to it.”
“And I’m better at taking care of my body off the ice now and I’m eating better. I’m sleeping better. Every minute feels like you have to take care of it when you’re not playing. So it’s fun. I can’t complain. I love playing.”
Dahlin made his All-Star debut last year in Las Vegas, dazzled a locker room full of top players and spent plenty of time with Tampa Bay’s Swedish superstar Victor Hedman.
From that experience, he had some advice for rookie All-Star Thompson.
“I told him it was very easy just to look around and have a good time, but I told him to play, to strive for it, to really strive for it,” said Dahlin. “People want to see his skill and what he’s good at. So I’m really excited for him. I’m going to watch him. I want him to do something sick and have a blast. I’m sure he’ll do that a few times in his career, but definitely enjoy the moment.”
Former Sabers defenseman Colin Miller has made a smooth transition to the Dallas defense, playing much more as he did in Vegas than he ever did with the Sabers. Miller entered Monday’s game with three goals, 10 assists, and a 20-plus rating that was fourth on the team. He averaged 16:31 per game.
Miller signed a two-year, $3.75 million contract with Dallas the following July Three mostly frustrating years with the Sabers. He had two goals and 12 assists in 38 games with Buffalo last year, often finding himself on the injured list or a healthy scratch.
“That’s behind me now. I don’t want to focus on that,” Miller said. “It was frustrating for me when I was there and we are here now. We have a great team and there were more opportunities here for me.
“Colin just got better and better for us,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “For me, it’s all about consistency. We know his ‘A’ game is good enough to be really good at the NHL level on a nightly basis. She makes sure to keep your game at an ‘AB’ and ‘CD’ level. Games are few and far between.
“His buffalo experience, I’ve talked to him a little bit about that. I think he’s dealt with some injuries and stuff, but I think that’s made him appreciate his health and the situation now.”
Miller said he was particularly impressed with the season Dahlin spent at Buffalo Blueline.
“It was only a matter of time before he had one of those crazy years,” Miller said. “But ‘Dulles’ is a guy who has got to play great hockey for a long time. It’s great to see where he is now.”
If you want an example of getting rich in the NHL draft, look no further than what the Stars did in the first two rounds in 2017.
In third overall, the Stars took on defenseman Miro Heiskanen and, by 2020, had the fourth-highest playoff point total by a defenseman in league history as the Stars reached Game Six of the Covid-Stanley Cup Final before losing in Edmonton to Tampa. bay.
At number 26, the Stars are winning goaltender Jake Oettinger, who entered Monday’s game with the Sabers with 21 wins, a 2.20 goals-against average and a 0.926 save percentage. At No. 39, they took All-Star winger Jason Robertson, whose 31 goals put him fifth in the NHL and one behind Buffalo Thompson.
Twice ahead of Robertson at No. 37, the Sabers made a huge mistake in taking Swede Marcus Davidson. The Sabers did not sign him, nor did he play in the NHL.