February 10, 2018

Why Vancouver Canucks fans will love Jonathan Dahén

THE REAL DEAL? Jonathan Dahlén is having a great season in the shadow of friend and former linemate Elias Pettersson. Photo: Bildbyrån/Pär Olert

 It was unquestionably a strange sight. As crowds were pouring out of NHK Arena, satisfied with hometown team Timrå IK’s convincing 2-0 victory over hated rivals Modo Hockey, there seemed to be a contingent of fans that weren’t headed for the exits at all. In fact, they were moving closer to the ice. To an outside observer it would seem like they were waiting for something. As the minutes went by, it would turn out that they were in fact waiting for someone… that someone being Jonathan Dahlén.

Before we continue, let’s back it up a bit to further set the scene.

The event I am attempting to describe took place mere weeks ago. The 20-year old Swedish phenomenon Dahlén hadn’t just set the hearts of Timrå IK fans on fire up to that point, he’d also burned the scoresheets of Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan to a crisp. Rumors had begun swirling around Dahlén though. Ever since news broke that he had an “out-clause” in his contract that was set to expire on February 15th, fans demanded to know: Would he move up a tier and sign in the SHL? Would he forego a larger paycheck and stay with Timrå? Would the Vancouver Canucks go so far as to bring him overseas right then and there?

Suddenly, Dahlén came out from the NHK Arena dressing room and skated onto the ice. As he got closer to the hundreds of fans who were clamoring to know the details of his future, he put one finger to his lips and called for silence. The arena went quiet as the fans leaned in as close to the ice as they possibly could. Dahlén paused for a second and then exclaimed:

“I’m staying!”

He didn’t have to say more. A loud roar reverberated through the arena – legends say the roar can still be heard around the city of Timrå – as Dahlén made sure to clap his hands and thank the fans that had stayed out to wait as he made his way back to the dressing room.

”Only a heartless fool would leave this team. My heart is in the right place so I’ll be staying here. I see us having a real shot at promotion here. As long as we do, I’m not going anywhere”, he told Swedish broadcaster C More when asked about the decision.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Dahlén in 2017-18, though. As September rolled around Dahlén showed up to Canucks training camp eager to impress the coaching staff only to be struck by mononucleosis. The illness kept him out for most of camp and quickly dashed any hopes he might’ve had of making the NHL this season.

A humbled Dahlén returned to Timrå determined to improve upon his previous season – a campaign in which he scored 44 points (25+19) in 45 games playing with fellow Canucks’ prospect Elias Pettersson. With Pettersson now in the SHL producing at a point-per-game pace for Växjö Lakers, Dahlén suddenly found himself the main target for opposing teams’ defenders.

How things turned out?

Well, considering Timrå is pacing the entire HockeyAllsvenskan in points and Dahlén leads the team with 37 points (20+17) in 36 games, it is safe to say he has lived up to expectations.

As famed NBC announcer Pierre McGuire usually says: “Canucks fans, get excited about this kid – he’s going to be the real deal!”

Not only is Dahlén incredibly skilled with the puck, he also has a wicked release and possesses excellent vision which allows him to get the most out of his ability to hang on to the puck for just the right amount of time. Furthermore, he already has a full season of playing on the same roster – often the same line – as Elias Pettersson under his belt. With Pettersson poised to make the Canucks roster next season, putting Dahlén on the same line could ignite instant chemistry and create that “rookie scoring line” GMs salivate over.

On top of it all Dahlén is just a good kid with a good head on his shoulders. Odds are he’s been approached with lucrative offers by clubs from all over the SHL as well as the rest of Europe – yet he’s decided to remain with the same team he’s been with for four years in order to help them secure a promotion to the top division.

Vancouver Canucks fans; if that doesn’t tell you what you need to know about this young prospect then I don’t know what will.

@TheAlphaFuryan

Hampus Duvefelt hampus_duvefelt@live.se
May 23, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: Detroit’s run of success finally caught up to them

After an unprecedented two-decade-long period of success that saw four Stanley Cup championships and the Hall of Fame careers of players like Steve Yzerman, Nic...
May 10, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: After disappointing season – can the Canadiens reload quickly?

If you were to sum up the 2017-18 season for the Montreal Canadiens you could probably do it in a thousand words. Or, you could do it with just one: disappointm...
May 07, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: Svechnikov or Zadina – tough choice awaits the Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes faithful may soon see the fortunes of their beleaguered franchise shift after the Canes exited the April 28th NHL draft lottery with the...
May 04, 2018

From July to May – Lias Andersson’s long journey continues

How much hockey can you play without getting burned out? If you are to believe Lias Andersson, there’s no upper limit.  And he should know. The 19 year-ol...
April 30, 2018

Swedish Olympian to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs

At 26 years of age, he’s not by any means a prospect anymore. But Pär Lindholm is a late-bloomer who has had two seasons of great progress with Skellefteå...
April 29, 2018

Clock is ticking for Valeri Nichushkin – can he make a triumphant return to the NHL?

When Valeri Nichushkin was drafted by the Dallas Stars with the 10th overall pick in 2013, it was a bit of a surprise. After all, the Russian was picked ahead o...
April 26, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: Senators strong at center, in need of game-changer

The Ottawa Senators made a lot of noise this season. Just not the right kind of noise. Coming off a 2016-17 campaign in which the  franchise reached its third e...
April 26, 2018

Erik Brännström cherishes the opportunity to compete with NHL stars

One by one, the established NHL players have taken over the Swedish World Championship squad. Stars like Oliver Ekman Larsson, John Klingberg and Mika Zibanejad...
April 24, 2018

Adam Boqvist looking forward to his second NHL draft

Unlike most of his peers, Adam Boqvist went to the NHL Entry Draft one summer before it was his draft year. Not because he wanted to learn about the event, take...
April 23, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: The Coyotes are better than they seem

It was another difficult season in the desert as the Coyotes finished with the worst record in the Western Conference. But, under the radar, Arizona had a solid...
April 23, 2018

Elias Pettersson – Swedish hockey’s new golden boy

The expectations were certainly high when Växjö Lakers signed Elias Pettersson to a three-year deal in early April last year. The young forward had just finishe...
April 18, 2018

The Playoff Report – which prospects are excelling in the postseason?

The old trusted adage that you need grit and experience to succeed in the playoffs is proving less and less true every day. Every day reports filter in from var...
April 13, 2018

Swedish prospect Filip Hållander to miss the World Juniors

Team Sweden will already be without first overall pick to be, Rasmus Dahlin, when the U18 World Championships starts in Russia next week. Unfortunately for the...
April 11, 2018

“The Black Ace” – a badge of honor for an NHL prospect

As legend has it, the origins of the term Black Ace can be traced back centuries. 1876, to be specific. That is the year in which famous Old West lawman “Wild B...
April 10, 2018

PROSPECT REPORT: The Sabres need to win the draft lottery

The Buffalo Sabres became the first team ever to finish 31st in the NHL this year.  For their struggles, the Sabres will have the highest odds at the draft lott...
April 09, 2018

Oilers prospects turning heads during Swedish playoffs

Edmonton Oilers’ fans didn’t have a whole lot to cheer about this season. Outside of Connor McDavid‘s second straight Art Ross Trophy, which i...
April 05, 2018

The next batch – rookies that could rule the NHL in 2019

The Calder Memorial Trophy of 2018 hasn’t even been handed out yet and still you want us to take a look at next year’s candidates? Really? Fair enough then, let...
April 03, 2018

Rasmus Dahlin shut down for the season: “I need to recover”

Rasmus Dahlin won’t play any more hockey this season. The 17 year-old defenseman, destined to go first overall at the NHL entry draft in Dallas in June, m...
April 01, 2018

Prospects get their shot with the Swedish national team

Several Swedish prospects will get their chance to don the yellow and blue jersey. On Sunday, four junior aged players were named to the Swedish national team t...
March 28, 2018

A class of their own – NHL rookies of 2018

Until Brock Boeser suffered a scary back injury at the beginning of March, the race for NHL rookie of the year was an exciting one. While still not completely s...