After trading Dave Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks used the 51st overall selection on defenseman Carl Dahlström from Sweden.
Dahlström is listed at 6-3 and 191 pounds, and is described as having a solid understanding of the game and impressive positioning who handles the puck well who uses his size and reach effectively. He had five goals and eight assists in 37 games last year.
The Blackhawks’ site cited a few scouting reports on their draft picks. Here’s what they had to say about Dahlström:
Red Line Report: “Strength and conditioning make him a shutdown d-man. Slowly but surely morphed into a real prospect over the season. Huge defenseman improved his puckhandling dramatically, making his decisions quicker and making safe outlets to the right spots. Though he’s a bit of a gentle giant who lacks a natural mean streak, he competes hard and wins battles down low, strips pucks, and pins his man against the wall. Steady defensively, and shows pretty good footwork for a big man. Could be a formidable shutdown type defender given his skating range, which is well above average considering his size and huge wingspan. Plays an efficient defensive game relying on his anticipation and consistent positioning. Effective 1-on-1 defender thanks to patience, timing, lateral agility and reach more than strength. Not much creativity or puck skill; just makes safe, basic plays.”
Hockey Prospectus: “Dahlstrom will not be a huge standout in any given game, but he always looks solid. Despite not being overly skilled, he finds a way to positively contribute. He has decent, if not solid mobility, especially for a big defenseman. He has the straight-away speed to bring the puck up when he is affronted space. He makes a lot of defensive stops, and that is his game, although in the Swedish junior league, he showed some offensive potential. He is a smart defensive player who can close with his body or with his stick. He is also 6’3″, 200 pounds, and while he will not crush opponents, he pins well, will lay some hits, and he has the strength to push forwards off of pucks. His offensive potential remains questionable. In my viewings, he has appeared clumsy and unskilled with the puck. I have heard some conflicting reports that suggest he has average offensive potential.”
EliteProspects.com: “A solid defensive player with a good understanding of the game and impressive positioning. Dahlström has great size and reach, which he uses to his advantage although not being an overly physical player. Handles the puck well and is a capable passer.”
Also from the Hawks’ site:
The first of three Swedish blueliners selected by the Blackhawks in this draft class, Dahlstrom is a prototypical “modern” defenseman, according to Head European Amateur Scout Niklas Blomgren.
“He’s big, he’s mobile, he plays a simple and effective game,’ Blomgren said. ‘He takes his man and has an active stick.”
Dahlstrom showcased a strong two-way game last season with 17 points (7G, 10A) and a +23 plus/minus rating with Linkoping’s junior club, where he’ll continue establishing himself as a top defenseman this fall.