Jonathan Dahlen for Linus Karlsson
Well, this trade was quite surprising.
The Canucks acquired Dahlen from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Alexandre Burrows two years ago. That looked like a huge win for Benning, having picked up a prospect with a strong skill set in exchange for a past-his-prime forward.
Even though he was viewed as of the top prospects in Vancouver’s system entering this season, Dahlen has been enduring a frustrating 2018-19. In 50 games with the AHL’s Utica Comets, Dahlen posted 14 goals and 29 points. Not bad, but not good enough for a player with so much potential and talent.
Benning later said that Dahlen’s agent, J.P. Barry), made a trade request just weeks before the deadline.
Well, Benning didn’t have much of a choice but to move out a player that was struggling, frustrated and in need of a new home. The only concern is if Benning got equal value in return for Dahlen.
Linus Karlsson hasn’t exactly been lighting it up for Karlskrona HK of Swe-1, with just four goals and 17 points in 48 games. Drafted with the 87th pick by the Sharks last year, Karlsson clearly has a lot of work and development ahead of him before Canuck fans can dream of seeing him in the NHL.
Dahlen is undoubtedly the more talented player here, and he has a better chance of being an NHL regular. Again, we won’t know the real winner of this trade for at least a couple of years. But for now, it’s tough to give Vancouver a high grade when they gave up on a young talent so early.
Overall, it’s hard to complain about what Benning did overall at the trade deadline. He moved out a struggling Gudbranson and managed to find a better and cheaper player in return. Hopefully, Karlsson turns out to be the effective player that Benning is obviously keen on acquiring.
*Stats courtesy of Hockey Reference and HockeyDB*