Newport Sports eyes 6th No. 1 pick with Swedish teen Dahlin
Newport Sports Management has represented the No. 1 overall NHL draft pick five times, and the 37-year-old agency is in line to do it again next month with client Rasmus Dahlin, an 18-year-old Swedish defenseman.
Newport Sports founder Don Meehan and agents Craig Oster and Greg Landry are representing Dahlin, who’s been called “a generational” talent by multiple hockey media news outlets. NHL.com draft experts unanimously ranked Dahlin, who plays for Swedish Hockey League team Frölunda HC, No. 1 in a mock draft earlier this year.
In April, the Buffalo Sabres beat 14 other non-playoff NHL teams that were in the lottery for the top pick in the draft. Meehan is confident Buffalo will take Dahlin. “They haven’t told us, officially, no, but you could bet your beach house in L.A. that they are going to take him,” Meehan said.
Newport has a history with top Swedish players, having represented Nicklas Lidström, a former Detroit Red Wing who is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, as well as current Ottawa Senators captain and two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. Dahlin is comparable to Lidström and Karlsson at the same age, Meehan said.
Meehan bases his confidence that Dahlin will be taken first in the June 22 draft based on what team personnel have said.
“There has been so much acclaim on Rasmus Dahlin with all our discussions with management personnel throughout the league that I believe I can safely say the consensus is anybody who won the lottery would be taking Rasmus Dahlin,” Meehan said.
Dahlin speaks English, but Meehan said it’s premature to talk about endorsement deals.
Dahlin began playing in the Swedish Hockey League at age 16. He was on Sweden’s Olympic hockey team in Pyeongchang, the youngest men’s hockey player to participate in the Olympics since 1984.
“His speed and his edge work are incredible, and his hockey sense is extremely high,” Oster said. “He has the ability to see things on the ice and create plays on the ice that is unique. And lastly, he is able to do everything at a very high rate of speed despite being 6-foot-2. A lot of the scouts who have evaluated him have said that he performs like he is a forward, not a defenseman.”
The five No. 1 picks who Newport Sports has represented are Wendel Clark, taken by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1985; Joe Murphy, taken by the Detroit Red Wings in 1986; Ed Jovanovski, taken by the Florida Panthers in 1994; Alex Ovechkin, taken by the Washington Capitals in 2004; and Steven Stamkos, taken by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008.
In this year’s draft, Newport Sports also represents three other projected first-round picks: Boston University left wing Brady Tkachuk; Barrett Hayton, a center for Ontario Hockey League team Sault Ste. Marie; and Grigori Denisenko, a wing for Russian Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Additionally, the agency represents two other highly rated players: Calen Addison, a defenseman for Western Hockey League team Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Boston College forward Jack McBain.
WASSERMAN’S NBA CLASS: Wasserman has signed several prospects for the NBA draft, including Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tulane guard Melvin Frazier. Those two players, as well as George Washington forward Yuta Watanabe, are being represented by agent Thad Foucher.
Agent Darren Matsubara signed San Diego State forward Malik Pope and New Mexico State forward Zach Lofton.
Wasserman also signed two international players — Isaac Bonga, who plays guard for the Fraport Skyliners in the German Basketball Bundesliga, and Arnoldas Kulboka, who plays forward for the Italian team Betaland Capo d’Orlando in the European Basketball Champions League. Agents Jason Ranne, George David and Foucher are representing those players.