from Tony Ferrari of The Hockey News,
Going back to last season, Dahlin’s return to form has been a pleasure to watch. He regained confidence as a puck carrier and worries much less about what he has to do to make up for a mistake. Dahlin is comfortable understanding there will be far more highs than lows if he pushes the pace and attacks every play as if the next goal is the only one that matters.
Dahlin began to use his skating and physical tools in a more cohesive nature. He pairs his mobility and on-ice vision on the breakout to move the puck up ice. The Sabres' top defender cuts through traffic in the neutral zone with his puck skills and identifies skating lanes in transition to gain clean entries into the offensive zone. Once there, he becomes a rover, manipulating defenders high in the zone and making plays with his feet, hands, and offensive mind.
His defensive play has improved by proxy as well. With the confidence to make plays and use his tools, he’s more effective at preventing goals because he has the puck more often. The best defense in the modern NHL is a good offense. You can’t be scored on if the puck is on your stick.
Playing confidently has also helped his ability to actually defend in-zone as well. Using his speed as well as his 6-foot-3 frame has allowed him to cut off cycles effectively and wrestle the puck off opponents along the wall. He’s become a bit more consistent at clearing the net front and he has continued to excel at staying in front of opposing attackers in space.