Many believe that talented, but under-performing forward Jonathan Dahlen may be primed for a breakout year in 2019-20, beginning his first full season with the San Jose Sharks. Dahlen, 21, was acquired by the Sharks at the trade deadline in a swap with the Vancouver Canucks for fellow Swedish forward prospect Linus Karlsson. Dahlen had failed to do enough in the AHL to earn a call-up to the Canucks in his first season in North America, but after a four-point outburst in the final seven games of the regular season with AHL San Jose, many felt a change of scenery could be all he needed to battle for an NHL spot this upcoming season. However, Dahlen may not break camp with the Sharks this fall because he may not even be in camp. Swedish news source Hockey Sverige reports that Dahlen is expected to return to his former club, Timra IK. Dahlen is in the final year of his entry-level contract, but that deal does include a European Assignment Clause, which allows Dahlen to play in Europe if he does not make the NHL club. The fact that this information has been leaked so early before training camp likely indicates that Dahlen either believes or knows that he won’t be playing for the Sharks in 2019-20 and would prefer to return home to Sweden rather than suit up for the Barracuda. Dahlen exercised his European Assignment Clause in the first year of his ELC, playing for Timra rather than the AHL’s Utica Comets. After a season in Utica last year that left a lot to be desired, Dahlen is likely eager to get back to his roots, especially since Timra has been promoted to the SHL from the minor league Allsvenskan since the last time he played there. If Dahlen does indeed jump overseas next season, it doesn’t mean his career with San Jose is over. The Sharks would merely need to make him a qualifying offer next season to retain his rights moving forward, should he re-discover his game and try again to make it in the NHL.
- One player making the reverse move, going from Europe to North America, is Chicago Blackhawks prospect Michal Teply. Teply played professionally in his native Czech Republic last season, but is ready to return to the junior ranks. After being selected No. 4 overall in the recent CHL Import Draft, Teply has delivered on the pick used by the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, as the team announced he has signed. The Ice, who are moving from Kootenay to Winnipeg and looking for a fresh start after a second-to-last league finish, are likely to see immediate results from Teply. A big winger who uses his size well to create space and make plays, many were surprised that Teply fell into the fourth round for the Blackhawks. In fact, there was a consensus among the top scouting services that Teply was a surefire second- or third-round pick. From fourth round to fourth overall, Winnipeg still may have found a steal in Teply, as the skilled forward has already proven he can compete with men at the pro level and could be in for breakout year against junior competition.
- Boston University has found its new starting goaltender via transfer. The program has announced that a pair of graduate transfers have joined the team in Alex Brink and Sam Tucker. While Brink was a nice piece as a depth forward at Brown University, Tucker is the big news. The 23-year-old keeper split starts in net for Yale University over the past three seasons, including leading the team in appearances in each of the past two years, and his numbers took a sharp upturn in 2018-19. He now joins an elite NCAA program in BU where superior defense and possession ability should allow him to excel even more. After losing Jake Oettinger to the pros, it was looking like the Terriers were going to enter next season with untested Vinnie Purpura in net, but Purpura can take another year to continue developing while Tucker presumably takes over the starter role. Brink and Tucker join a new group of players that is arguably the best recruiting class in the nation, helping to make up for an exodus of nearly a third of last year’s roster to the pros.