Carl Dahlstrom is a nice #7 D-man. He’s neither so good nor so bad that you notice him. I would stop the review right there if I could, since that’s about all worth knowing about Dahlstrom, but they’re going to take my thumbs if I don’t expound. So let’s shit on Stan Bowman for a little while.
38 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 P
47.32 CF%, 43.72 xGF% [5v5]
It Comes With a Free Frogurt!
The Hawks had to ask a lot of Donald Dahlstrom in what was technically his second time in the NHL. This is a thing that happens when your GM is too much of a sniveling, mealy-mouthed coward to fire the coach he so desperately wanted to fire before the season began. Never forget that Stan Bowman unironically signed Brandon Manning in a passive-aggressive salvo against Joel Quenneville, leaving Colliton frantically searching for bodies to throw on the blue line in response.
Dahlstrom happened to be one of those bodies.
Given the situations he got thrown into, Dahlstrom was fine. According to Corey Sznadjer (@ShutdownLine) and CJ Turtoro (@CJTDevil), Dahlstrom was good at cutting off play at the blue line this year, but the sample sizes are small, both for this year and his career.
Playing dungeon shifts with Our Large Irish Son, his CF% at 5v5 was 47+. That’s pretty good when you consider that he started just 38+% of his time in the offensive zone.
He played on the PK and was a guy out there, on the ice for 10 PK goals allowed in about 71.5 minutes. He also had the highest PDO among all Blackhawks: 103.8 at evens.
But buddy, if we’re hanging onto an unsustainably high PDO and small-sample-size entry-defense stats as highlights, there’s not much behind the curtain.
Dahlstrom isn’t useless. He played 38 games and was OK. He’ll have a cap hit of $850,000 in each of the next two years. That’s not terrible. He’s a depth guy that should be splitting starts with Seabrook. That’s all.
The Frogurt Is Also Cursed
It’s important to restate that Dahlstrom got thrown into the deep end because Stan Bowman thought it was more important to give Quenneville a defensive monolith than to sign literally any other D-man than Brandon Manning. The only way it might have been worse is if he’d signed Roman Polak, and I assume the only reason he didn’t is because “Ric Flair of the Offseason” Jim Nill managed to get on the phone with him first. Because of that wretched signing and eventual trade, Dahlstrom had to pick up the pieces, and it wasn’t always pretty.
Among all Hawks D-men, Dahlstrom had the worst High-Danger Corsi For percentage at evens, with a 36.92%. That means he was giving up a shit-ton of high-danger shots while he was out there. But given the dungeon shifts he and Murphy were expected to take, typically against better competition, that number makes more sense. It’s still not good, but it’s not as awful as it seems in context.
In trying to think of other examples of any outlandishly bad play, I’ve come up short. He’s not particularly fast, which means he’s more inclined to play conservatively. His conservative play and positioning mean he’s usually not terribly out of position, but it also means he’s never going to contribute offensively. Given Colliton’s lust for run-and-gun, man-to-man defense, it’s hard to picture Dahlstrom having any sustainable success here, outside of spot starting.
Can I Go Now?
Donald Dahlstrom is here for another two years, barring a trade. You’ll hardly ever notice him, given his ghost-like features, and that’s fine.
In an ideal world, he and Seabrook would split starts right down the middle. But that would require Colliton to have the spine to scratch Seabrook, Bowman to have the mental wherewithal to trade for a true #1 D-man rather than vainly and embarrassingly comparing his team to the Islanders, and Brent Seabrook to be the leader everyone trips over themselves to say he is and swallow the scratches for the sake of the team.
I don’t like those odds, and you shouldn’t either.
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