DALLAS - The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 overall pick of the NHL draft on Friday night, June 22, at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Dahlin, 18, is the reigning Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year after playing last season for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League. He helped his country earn a silver medal at this year's World Junior Championship, where he was named Best Defenseman in the tournament.
The 6-foot-2, 181-pound blue-liner became the second Swedish-born player to be selected with the first overall pick. The first was Mats Sundin, who was taken by the Quebec Nordiques with the first pick in 1989 and went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career.
"It's amazing," Dahlin said to NBC Sports Network shortly after his name was called. "It's my dream come true, actually. Especially the Buffalo Sabres. I heard such great things about the fans. I just want everything to start. I'm so excited."
Dahlin has drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson, a five-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner with the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson also played for Frolunda in Sweden before reaching the NHL as a 19-year-old.
The Carolina Hurricanes used the No. 2 overall pick to select forward Andrei Svechnikov, 18, who led all rookies in the Ontario Hockey League with 72 points (40 goals, 32 assists) in 44 games with the Barrie Colts last season. He was born in Russia but moved to the United States before the 2016-17 campaign to play for the Muskegon (Mich.) Lumberjacks, where he notched 58 points (29 goals, 29 assists) in 48 games and earned USHL Rookie of the Year honors.
The Montreal Canadiens picked next, selecting Finnish center Jesperi Kotkaniemi at No. 3. Scouts have compared the two-way playmaker with Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings.
A familiar name followed at No. 4 as the Ottawa Senators selected forward Brady Tkachuk, the son of 500-goal scorer Keith Tkachuk and the younger brother of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. The family's latest draft pick played last season for Boston University, tallying 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) in 40 games as a freshman.
The Arizona Coyotes used the fifth pick to select center Barrett Hayton from Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL. The 18-year-old Canadian had 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 63 games last season.
Incoming UND defenseman picked No. 26
The University of North Dakota will have a first-round NHL draft pick on its roster again this fall.
Incoming freshman defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker was taken in the first round, No. 26 overall, by the Ottawa Senators during the NHL Draft on Friday night in Dallas.
Bernard-Docker is UND's 15th first-round pick since 2000. The other 14 have all played in the NHL.
After a one-year absence without a first-rounder on the roster, Bernard-Docker's addition means that UND will have first-rounder on the roster for the 17th time in the last 19 seasons.
What will UND be getting with him?
"He's a pretty special player," said Tyler Deis, who coached Bernard-Docker with the Okotoks Oilers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League last season. "He's a right-handed defenseman who plays 200 feet. He's as good in his zone as he is in the offensive zone. He moves the puck well, jumps into plays and he can skate.
"I had an inkling that he might get picked here in the first round, to be honest. He's a pretty cool player, so the possibility was there. I kind of figured he might."
Bernard-Docker had an exceptional season with the Oilers, tallying 20 goals and 41 points in 49 games.
UND's other top prospect, incoming rookie defenseman Jonny Tychonick, did not get picked in Friday's first round. He's expected to go early Saturday, when Rounds 2-7 kick off at 10 a.m. on NHL Network.
2018 NHL Entry Draft
1. Buffalo - Rasmus Dahlin, D, Sweden
2. Carolina - Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)
3. Montreal - Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Finland
4. Ottawa - Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston U. (NCAA)
5. Arizona - Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
6. Detroit - Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
7. Vancouver - Quintin Hughes, D, Michigan (NCAA)
8. Chicago - Adam Boqvist, D, Sweden
9. N.Y. Rangers - Vitaly Kravtsov, RW, Russia
10. Edmonton - Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL)
11. N.Y. Islanders - Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USNTDP
12. N.Y. Islanders - Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
13. Dallas - Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint (OHL)
14. Philadelphia (from St. Louis) - Joel Farabee, LW, USNTDP
15. Florida - Grigori Denisenko, LW, Russia
16. Colorado - Martin Kaut, RW, Czech Republic
17. New Jersey - Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
18. Columbus - Liam Foudy, C, London (OHL)
19. Philadelphia - Jay O'Brien, C, Thayer Academy (USHS)
20. Los Angeles - Rasmus Kupari, C, Finland
21. San Jose - Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
22. N.Y. Rangers (from Ottawa and Pittsburgh) - K'Andre Miller, D, USNTDP
23. Anaheim - Isac Lundestrom, C, Sweden
24. Minnesota - Filip Johansson, D, Sweden
25. St. Louis (from Toronto) - Dominik Bokk, RW, Germany
26. Ottawa (from N.Y. Rangers and Boston) - Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, Okotoks (AJHL)
27. Chicago (from Nashville) - Nicolas Beaudin, D, Drummondville (QMJHL)
28. N.Y. Rangers (Tampa Bay) - Nils Lundkvist, D, Sweden
29. Toronto (from St. Louis and Winnipeg) - Rasmus Sandin, D, Sweden
30. Detroit (from Vegas) - Joseph Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
31. Washington - Alexander Alexeyev, D, Red Deer (WHL)