Samuelsson’s NHL “bloodlines” could help development

Buffalo Sabres

After selecting Rasmus Dahlin number one overall, the Sabres had all night and then a few hours Saturday morning to solidify who they planned on taking with the first pick in the second round.

They stayed on the blue line and added a big bruiser in Mattias Samuelsson.

The defenseman comes from a family of former NHLers.  His dad, Kjell, who played in more than 800 games in the league.  That was taken into the consideration by the Sabres’ coaching and scouting staff.

“I think the biggest thing the bloodlines can play, besides natural talent, is the true and deep understanding of what it takes to play at the National Hockey League level. I don’t mean that lightly,” Sabres assistant GM Randy Sexton explained in Dallas. 

“It’s very difficult to play in our league. Players that grow up in a hockey family, a family member that played and gone through the difficult path it takes to get and stay in the NHL, that they do have a competitive advantage over other players. In Mattias case, with his dad and uncle, he does have an understanding.”

Of the team’s six selections, Samuelsson was among five defenseman drafted by the Blue and Gold. The ’18 class also includes four more Swedes.  Those selections might have raised a few eyebrows but Sexton said they had a plan over the weekend.

“We don’t draft by region. We don’t draft by country. We scour the world for the best players that play the style we want to play going forward, and then we work very diligently to learn as much as we can about them as human beings so they map our character criteria,” he said. “This year just happened to fall that there were a lot of Swedes.

“We don’t have enough depth on defense. We have more after (Saturday) obviously. Again, We don’t draft by position. We don’t seek to fill certain slots, we really just take the best players we can. There were a few forwards there we had hoped might drop to us and they didn’t, and as a result the next player on our list just so happened to be a defenseman, so we drafted a defenseman.”

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