Carl Dahlström clears waivers and will be huge addition to the Marlies’ defence core

Photo credit:Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Barden
1 year ago
Carl Dahlström, after suffering a shoulder injury during Maple Leafs training camp in September, is officially back.
It’s been a long road for the 28-year-old defenceman who’s been out for the last six months recovering from his injury. Plenty of rehab, conditioning, and just getting back into the rhythm of being a professional hockey player.
He’s been skating with the Marlies for a while now and had finally shed the red non-contact jersey last week, replacing it with a regular practice sweater.
On Thursday, the Maple Leafs went a step further, placing Dahlström on waivers, signalling that he’s likely ready to return to game action.
“(It’s) exciting for all of us, exciting for him,” Marlies head coach Greg Moore said last week. “It’s been a long time for him, I know he’s itching to get on the ice and be with the team in games.”
The Marlies are finally returning to full health on the back-end after a huge chunk of the season with the likes of Noel Hoefenmayer, Marshall Rifai, Tommy Miller, William Villeneuve, Matteo Pietroniro, Matt Hellickson, and Mikko Kokkonen holding down the fort.
All of those defencemen — who are rookies I should add — did an incredible job all season at learning and executing at the AHL level. Rifai, Miller, and Hoefenmayer are all on AHL deals and they became the Marlies’ top three defenders in what was an important season for the club.
If there’s any players on the team that have earned NHL contracts, I’d say it’s one (or more) of those three.
Jordie Benn has returned to the team, too, playing in nine games since being sent down on February 26th. And now with Dahlström back, the Marlies’ defence will be as strong as ever.
“They’re physically big strong guys, so yeah, they’re definitely more muscle back there,” Moore said about the additions of Benn, and now Dahlström.
“Our d-core as a whole all year has grown a lot and done a really good job. And obviously these guys who have the experience they have, will definitely add more to the depth that we have back there.”
These additions come at a crucial time for the hockey club. Toronto is nine points away from clinching the North Division, which will give them a bye, leading them to start the playoffs in the Calder Cup playoffs’ Division Semifinals.
Having a player like Dahlström — with his 6-foot-4 frame and the strength he has everywhere on the ice — will drastically change the size of the Marlies’ defence core.
This could be what Toronto’s defence pairings could look like at the beginning of the Calder Cup playoffs:
Extra: Kral, Pietroniro, Hellickson, Kokkonen
That’s a very strong core of players that could help push this team to what is a very deep playoff run this spring. Those chances could be even greater if they can get Alex Steeves and Bobby McMann — who are both injured — back before the postseason begins.
There’s a lot of leadership in the Marlies’ dressing room in Logan Shaw, Kyle Clifford, Joseph Blandisi, Benn, and now Dahlström back on the team. Each of those players, in specific roles, will help push Toronto in the right direction.
And judging by how each player has reacted to the ups and downs of this season, the Marlies could be playing some important hockey for the next few months.

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