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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sabres News & Rumors: Dahlin, Tuch & Okposo

In this edition of Buffalo Sabres News & Rumors, Rasmus Dahlin is voted into the 2022 NHL All Star Game, and Alex Tuch and Kyle Okposo return for their first game since clearing COVID-19 protocols.

Dahlin to Represent Sabres at 2022 NHL All-Star Game

On Thursday, the NHL released its All-Star rosters for this year’s upcoming event in Las Vegas, and Sabres defenseman Dahlin made the cut. It marks the first All-Star selection of the 21-year-old’s young career. He is second on the Sabres, only one point behind Okposo, with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 36 games and has taken major steps in his development into a No. 1 defenseman this season.

Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Sabres have a very special talent in Dahlin, who was selected first overall by Buffalo at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to his All-Star naming, he was questioned about what an All-Star appearance would mean to him.

“I haven’t really thought about that,” said Dahlin. “It’s a dream.”

Sabres head coach Don Granato went on to add how deserving Dahlin is of an All-Star selection.

“A world of confidence can come from that type of experience and being put in that type of a category,” said Granato. “He’s deserving… It’s going to happen whether it’s sooner or later. He’s chipping very well toward that.”

Dahlin will suit up in All-Star gear for the first time in his career when the puck drops for the event, held in Las Vegas from Feb. 4-5.

Tuch Returns From COVID-19 Protocols, Tallies an Assist in Sabres Victory

Tuch made his return from COVID-19 protocols on Thursday, tallying an assist in a 4-1 Sabres road win over the Nashville Predators. Missing the first portion of the season with an upper-body injury, playing three games with Buffalo, and then being placed in COVID-19 protocols, Tuch has been waiting a while to become a Sabres mainstay forward. Now that he is back, he can finally settle in with the team and help lead the organization in the right direction.

Alex Tuch #89 of the Vegas Golden Knights
Former Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tuch, a native of Syracuse, New York, was acquired by the Sabres in the deal that sent Jack Eichel to the Golden Knights. It’s difficult to find a perfect trade when dealing with talent and unique situations like Eichel’s. Still, Buffalo general manager Kevyn Adams managed to acquire an incredible key piece in his return package, which also included Peyton Krebs, a top-10 protected first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Related: Sabres News & Rumors: Dell, Houser & Dahlin

Adams has preached the desire for players who want to play in Buffalo and are proud to wear the Sabres uniform. There’s a good chance the team got the perfect player in the league to embody Adams’ values. As Tuch tweeted following his trade from Vegas, “being from Upstate NY, it’s been a dream of mine to put on the Sabres jersey. Thank you, Buffalo and I can’t wait to get started!” It’s an exciting time to have Tuch in the Sabres’ lineup, hopefully for good this time.

Okposo Picks up Where He Left Off, Records Two Assists in Return From COVID-19

Okposo is putting together a fantastic season for the Sabres, leading the team with 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 34 games. He only managed to play one game in 2022, a 4-3 overtime loss at the Bruins on Jan. 1, before being placed in COVID-19 protocols. In his return on Thursday, he tallied a pair of assists in the Sabres’ 4-1 victory over the Predators.

Kyle Okposo, Buffalo Sabres
Kyle Okposo, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The 33-year-old has already tallied more points this season than in each of the last two seasons. It is exciting to watch the resurgence of his career, now in his sixth season with the Sabres. Okposo is one of the team’s best leaders and mentors, and his return from COVID-19 protocols is incredible news for Buffalo. He looks to continue building on a great season when the Sabres take on the Detroit Red Wings on the road, Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

It’s been a rocky season for the Sabres, but with recent news regarding Dahlin’s All-Star selection, as well as Tuch and Okposo’s returns, not all is doom and gloom in Buffalo.


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