Photo from TimraIK.se
Based on most of the pre-draft rankings we’ve been looking over for the last few weeks, it’s clear the Canadian and U.S. feeder leagues will essentially dominate the first round. As such, most of our #AfterAuston profiles have been about CHL/USHL products and such.
But the Leafs will likely take a Euro prospect at some point in this draft, and one very intriguing name that could be there when they pick at 30 and 31 is Jonathan Dahlen from the second Swedish pro league Allsvenskan.
Scouts seem fairly split on Dahlen, which isn’t uncommon for an overseas prospect outside the very top of the draft. His range in the rankings among the more reliable scouting services goes from as high as 24th by HockeyProspect.com, to 53rd by ESPN’s Corey Pronman. But it appears those who like him, like him a lot, and when you research and watch what this player is all about, admittedly it’s hard not to.
Reports on Dahlen’s skillset point to his goal-scoring instincts and shot release as key weapons. He looks to be a boom or bust prospect, billed as a potential top six winger but lacking a bit in size and physicality. And if pedigree is your thing, note that he’s the son of Ulf Dahlen, who put up 655 points in 966 NHL games through the 90s and early 2000s.
As I’ve noted above, HockeyProspect.com is one of the outlets holding Dahlen in highest regard as we go into the draft, so here are a few notes from their Black Book:
Dahlen is primarily a goal scorer, has a quick and accurate shot, and really likes to be around the net…He seems to turn it on when an opportunity arises and looks better and quicker the closer he gets to the net. Drives to it consistently, is a threat on the wrap-around and is quite creative in finding ways to be dangerous in the offensive zone.
Dahlen led Timra IK in scoring this past season with 29 points in 51 games, which is obviously impressive on its own for an 18-year-old playing against pros. But in the playoffs he really turned things up with six goals and seven points in just five games.
As for international play, Dahlen didn’t get to represent Sweden at the U-18s this past season, as his birthday is a late ’97, but he did put up five points in as many games at the tournament last year. In his draft-plus-one campaign it’s probably safe to assume we’ll see him suit up for the World Juniors this Christmas in Montreal/Toronto.
Should the Leafs be interested?
The Leafs have taken a prospect from a European league in each of the last six drafts, so history suggests they’ll do it again later this month. And considering they hold 12 picks this time around, they can easily spread things out and toss a few bones to their international scouts again.
But like some of the other prospects we’ve covered in this #AfterAuston series, with Dahlen a lot comes down to where he could be available through the late first and second round. He’d be a fine pick at 30/31, but given his range in the pre-draft rankings there’s a small chance he could still be there for the Leafs at 57th. Dahlen is supposedly a favourite of those scouting overseas, so it’ll be interesting to see if he breaks into a first round group that is North America heavy outside the top three.