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Doubting Dahlén



Credit: San Jose Barracuda

Not everybody’s sold on Jonathan Dahlen.

One NHL scout texted me, after the San Jose Sharks announced that they had signed the 23-year-old winger to a one-year, one-way $750,000 contract: “Dahlen getting a one-way is ridiculous. He played in the Swedish D2.”

That’s in reference to Dahlen spending the last two seasons in Allsvenskan, second-division Swedish hockey — by choice, I should add — because he wanted to lead hometown Timra IK out of relegation. And while Dahlen dominated, scoring 148 points in just 96 games and leading Timra IK into the SHL, it’s all a far, far cry from the NHL.

My guess? Dahlen would’ve simply stayed with his hometown club without a one-way salary guarantee. What a one-way contract means is that Dahlen is making the same salary, no matter where he’s playing, in the NHL or the AHL. A two-way contract means the player receives different salaries, higher if in the NHL, lower if in the AHL.

For the once-again lottery-bound San Jose Sharks, in desperate need of as much talent up front as possible, it’s just money. But will it be money well-spent?

The jury is out, for sure.

Canvassing scouts from other NHL teams, consensus is Dahlen possesses NHL-caliber offensive skill and vision. But is the 5-foot-11 winger quick enough for the best league in the world? Will he be able to handle the pace? Those are the questions that they’re asking.

This mirrors with what another scout said last October: “Besides his strength and conditioning, a scout also told SJHN that the winger needed to pick up his quickness or ‘explosion’ to keep up with the best league in the world.”

Jonathan Dahlen: “I was a little small before.”

“In certain important ways,” ex-Toronto Marlies assistant coach Jack Han wrote in April, “I believe that Jonathan Dahlén is under-skilled.”

This isn’t much sought-after Artemi Panarin coming to the NHL from Russia — in other organizations, Dahlen is seen as depth, and not as a possible top-nine solution, as he’s seen in San Jose.

It doesn’t mean Doug Wilson bet wrong — it happens all the time, one organization views a prospect through a different lenses than another organization — it’s just a note of caution. Let’s not pencil Dahlen into the San Jose Sharks’ top-nine just yet.

Dahlen’s offensive skill and vision give him a chance to make it big in the NHL, but he’s more question mark than answer right now.

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Eric Pichette

I agree. He seemed to struggle in the AHL so thinking he’ll be a top 9 solution in the NHL is certainly premature. I think guys like Chmelevski, True and Blichfeld are probably better bets at this point than Dahlen.


I see him as a black or white, sink or swim, kind of prospect. No gray area. Either he comes in and blows us away, or we send him packing, once again disappointed. God knows why, after thirty years of near constant disappointment, but I am an eternal optimist when it comes to this team. Right now, I’m in the “yay Dalen, we get some scoring!” camp. That’s the fan side of me, not the more critical wannabe scout side of me, which I am currently ignoring. Check in with me mid way through next season though. My attitude toward… Read more »

[…] the Sharks gave Jonathan Dahlen a one-way contract to bring him back, San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng feels that the deal doesn’t pencil him into a lineup spot in San Jose next season. The 23-year-old […]


The thing about Dahlén is that I don’t think his scoring touch will translate well to North American ice. It didn’t with Utica and periodically watching him play with Timra made it evident that his game is still in need of some refinement up to this day.

The article by Jack Han was on point for a lot of reasons. I’m not counting him out whatsoever and I’d love to see him pan out, but I think the decision to not give him a 2-way so he could adjust and work on stuff in the AHL was a mistake.

[…] Not everybody’s sold on Jonathan Dahlen. One NHL scout texted me, after the San Jose Sharks announced that they had signed the 23-year-old winger to a one-year, one-way $750,000 contract: “Dahlen getting a one-way is ridiculous. He played in the Swedish D2.” (San Jose Hockey Now) […]


Very little risk for Sharks really, will be interesting to see if they protect him or not (I expect they will unless we make some trades beforehand)

Don V

Good on the Sharks for helping Dahlen pay rent in the area without going broke.

david barnard

it’s weird and smacks of entitlement. famous (sort of) dad, former Shark. other players have to prove themselves in the NA B pro league. this dude’s only comfortable in the B pro league in Sweden. the SHL is the equivalent of the KHL and AHL, not the Allsvenskan. so, he’s really only been able to shine in a C-level pro league. and don’t forget his issues within VAN’s pipeline and all the drama that went with that. perhaps the line on him was true? anyway, if he rocks with the Sharks all of this becomes moot. i just think it… Read more »

timorous me

I think part of it, too, is the Sharks’ desperation. I don’t know that they would have shown such patience and been willing to offer this deal if they felt confident in the offensive abilities of other prospects in their system. But since that situation is what it is, I suppose I give them credit for doing what they can to try to make it work for Dahlen.

[…] Doubting Dahlén – (San Jose Hockey Now) […]

[…] we saw Jonathan Dahlen, he was trying to forget […]

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