ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin didn’t attend the NHLPA Rookie Showcase on Sunday at Mastercard Centre, an event that provided Upper Deck, the NHL’s official trading card company, a chance to shoot photos and video of some of the league’s top prospects and incoming talent.
But Dahlin, selected first overall in this year’s NHL draft, wouldn’t have been the best player there anyway. At least in one respect, according to his onetime roommate.
Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren, a fellow Swede who said he roomed with Dahlin last year at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo, said he owns the Sabres rookie in the video game “Call of Duty,” which they played together quite a bit.
“I’d have to say I’m the better player,” Liljegren said. “I’m pretty good at all video games. Rasmus, he’s got talent in hockey but not in PlayStation.”
Would Dahlin agree?
“I hope so,” Liljegren said, “because I was better than him.”
Dahlin talked about video games during an interview with The News at the Scouting Combine. Asked what video game he was into, Dahlin replied, "What do you think?" Asked if it was Fortnite, Dahlin laughed.
"Have you seen the movie 'Hunger Games?' " Dahlin said. "It's kind of like that. You're all on a bus, 100 people. Everybody jumps out and you have to kill everybody to win. Last one standing."
Sabres centers Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Asplund were at the Rookie Showcase and spoke glowingly about Dahlin’s ability on the ice, which of course was never in question.
“He’s the smoothest skater I’ve probably ever seen,” Mittelstadt said, “and the way he can move the puck and use his hands is pretty impressive. I’ve played against him, and then when you play with him, it’s a lot better.”
“He’s one of the players you notice right away when he’s on the ice,” Asplund said. “He’s just incredible what he does with the puck and how he plays the game. I think he’s a special player.”
Liljegren, the 17th overall pick by the Leafs in 2017 and a Calder Cup champion last season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, conceded that playing hockey with Dahlin, if not video games, was instructional.
“Even though I’m one year older, it’s a guy you can learn from, just watching him,” Liljegren said. “He’s so smooth with the puck, and he’s a great guy outside of the rink, as well. He’s a lot of fun to play with.”