Have you ever caught yourself thinking of an old Caps' favorite and wondered, what ever happened to that guy?
Hockey, like all professional sports, is a tough business. Team legends can spend many years in one city but find themselves looking for a new team near the end of their careers. Other players are brought in to bolster the squad but are let go through free agency or trades just as they began to establish themselves in Washington.
The hockey world, however, does not end when players leave D.C. Here’s a look at some former Caps and how they fared after their time in Washington.
Played for Caps: 1999 – 2002
Stats with Caps: 217 GP, 53 G, 85 A, 138 Pts, Postseason: 11 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts
Journeyman Dahlen came to the Caps towards the end of his career in the summer of 1999 via free agency. He had spent the last two seasons playing in Sweden, but seemed to transition well back into the NHL game despite being 32-years-old.
Prior to that, Dahlen had spent 10 seasons in the NHL with four different teams and also moved with the North Stars when the team relocated to Dallas.
Dahlen spent three seasons with the Caps, increasing his point production in each season. In 2002, however, the Caps had assembled a roster full of expensive superstars and suddenly had no room for the talented veteran with the awesome name. He signed with Dallas, but retired from the NHL after only one season with his former team.
Though he was a fluid skater, Dahlen’s success as a player was more the result of his understanding for the game than it was his skillset. That was what allowed him to switch between North American and European so easily as he did frequently throughout his career. It comes as no surprise then that Dahlen has made a career for himself as a coach since hanging up the skates.
After retiring, Dahlen became an assistant coach for the Swedish national team which he had represented as a player in the 1996 World Cup, 1998 Olympics and multiple World Championships. He then became a European scout for Dallas which eventually led to his hire as an assistant coach by the Stars in 2006.
In 2008, Dahlen returned to Sweden. He served as head coach of Frölunda HC for three seasons and HV71 for three seasons before being fired by both clubs. Coaching, evidently is just as tough in Sweden as it is in the NHL.
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