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Klas Dahlbeck’s starting point for the 2016-17 season
Dahlbeck was one of two late waiver wire type additions to the Hurricanes blue line just prior to the start of the 2016-17 season. (Jakub Nakladal, the other addition, was technically a free agent signing but similar in terms of price/experience.) With Tennyson being sent to the AHL early in the roster cut process and Francis and Peters apparently deciding not to go with rookie Roland McKeown at the NHL level, Francis reached for depth. Dahlbeck arrived as a young (25 years old) but reasonably experienced (94 games of NHL experience including 71 in 2015-16) stay-home defenseman who slotted as a #6 or #7 defenseman in the Hurricanes’ lineup.
Klas Dahlbeck’s 2016-17 season with the Carolina Hurricanes
Dahlbeck parachuted into a new situation only about a week before the start of the regular season. After being scratched for the first two games in favor of Jakub Nakladal, Dahlbeck garnered his first chance in the Hurricanes’ third game of the season against the Winnipeg Jets. He slotted on the right side of the third pairing next to Noah Hanifin. Dahlbeck got a run of 6 straight games in November playing next to Hanifin, but his start in a Hurricanes’ uniform was choppy. He looked uncomfortable handling the puck on his off side and was ‘meh’ at best defensively in that first stint. He averaged only about 11 minutes of ice time in those October games and ultimately ceded the #6 slot to Matt Tennyson in November.
He did not make a regular return to the lineup until late January. His second entry into the lineup was modestly better, and he did look more comfortable on his natural left side when the lineup shuffled after Ron Hainsey was traded in late February. What stood out about Dahlbeck’s game was physical play with a dose of nastiness that is mostly missing from the Hurricanes’ lineup, but at the end of the day, he never looked significantly better than the depth role that he was brought in to fill.
Dahlbeck finished with 2 goals and 4 assists and averaged 13:53 of ice time in 43 games.
Grading Klas Dahlbeck
Graded as: Third pairing defenseman.
Grade: C. Dahlbeck never did enough to lift himself above the level of a serviceable depth defenseman. In a couple tries, he never really found chemistry or cohesion playing alongside the Hurricanes’ #5 defenseman, Noah Hanifin. And with ceiling in terms of level of play at ‘serviceable’ with a couple rough stretches mixed in, his play was sub-par even for his role. Encouraging is the fact that Dahlbeck did settle in and look better on his natural side, brought some physical edginess to the lineup and also now has a full season under his belt with the team.
Looking forward to 2017-18
Dahlbeck was signed partly to fill the role of the ‘experienced defenseman’ that the Hurricanes must expose to the expansion draft thereby shielding Justin Faulk. But if he goes unclaimed as expected, I view him as being the #7 defenseman for the 2017-18 season. That will of course require General Manager Ron Francis to add a defenseman or two to the lineup either from the AHL or externally. The hope and expectation is that Dahlbeck can provide serviceable depth in the event of injury or need to shake things up a bit.
What say you Canes fans?
Do you think Klas Dahlbeck has upside from his modest start with a full season under his belt and maybe with a chance to play on his natural left side? Or is he simply an expansion draft shield and deep depth to step in if an injury opens a temporary spot?
Where do you rank Klas Dahlbeck relative to Ryan Murphy on the Hurricanes’ blue line depth chart?
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