Kjell Dahlin

In 1985 Kjell Dahlin became just the second Swede to ever play for the great Montreal Canadiens. His predecessor was Mats Naslund in 1982. The two grew up on the same street back in Timra, Sweden, and would both be instrumental to the Habs Stanley Cup run in 1986.

Kjell Dahlin was a wiry forward blessed with a great set of hockey skills. Blessed with great quickness and agility, his skating style was very elegant, almost hinting of the great Jean Beliveau. He was capable of being a magician with the puck at any given time. He was a feathery passer and he had an absolute cannon of a wrist shot.

After serving his compulsory military duty in Sweden, he immediately stepped into the Habs lineup and was the perfect compliment for center Bobby Smith. Dahlin led all NHL rookies with 32 goals that season. The former anti-aircraft gunner became known as hockey star with a machine gun-like shot. His 32 goals and 71 points were both Montreal rookie records.

Due to Dahlin's slight build and his initiation to the long North American schedule, Dahlin slowed as the season came to an end. He scored just 4 goals in the final 19 games of the season, and then just 2 more goals in 19 playoff games, one of which was the game winning goal in game 3 of the Cup Finals. Dahlin openly admitted he was greatly fatigued because he was used to 40 or 50 game seasons.

Naslund, who played on a different line, emerged as the Habs top player, scoring 43 goals and 110 points and being the leading offensive force in the successful Stanley Cup pursuit. Times were "Swede" in Montreal in 1986.

Naslund would continue to star in Montreal for some time, but Dahlin was never able to recapture his magic. #20 played just two more years, both of which were significantly shortened by knee, back and rib injuries. He continued to find the lengthy NHL schedule and abundant travel very fatiguing. He also was very avoiding of the physical wars of the NHL game, and was often said to be easily intimidated by footsteps behind him.

Dahlin would return to Sweden in 1988 and played the game until 1994. Surprisingly he was not a regular on the Swedish national team, only playing in 11 career matches for Tre Kroner. He would coach junior hockey in Sweden after his playing days.


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