Forum Buzz: Dahlin vs. DeAngelo; Rankings; Makar; Shesterkin; Keller; Kempe; Mercer & More

Rick Roos

2022-03-16

Welcome back to Forum Buzz, where I peruse the DobberHockey Forums and weigh in on active, heavily debated, or otherwise relevant recent threads, reminding folks just how great a resource the Forums are. Nearly anything might be covered here, other than trades and signings, which usually get their own separate write-ups on the main site and are also normally covered in the next day’s Ramblings, or questions that are specific to salary cap issues, which is the domain of the weekly Capped column. To access the specific forum thread on which a question is based, click on the “Topic” for that question.

Topic #1Who is the better own in a keeper, Rasmus Dahlin or Tony DeAngelo?

All I can say is what a difference a season has made for both, as in 2020-21 DeAngelo was sitting on the sidelines as persona non-grata, while quite a few were starting to second guess Dahlin's "can't miss" label. Fast forward to now, and DeAngelo has been at or just below the point per game level all season, while Dahlin has climbed back to what was expected of him.

Who's better in a keeper? Given the positive steps Buffalo has taken this season, and the fact they have a team which is likely to get even better in the coming years, it'd be difficult not to go with Dahlin. Still though, DeAngelo is only 26 and likely will have a number of productive years still to come. Given that he's an RFA after this season, he'll likely stick with Carolina, a team which is better offensively than Buffalo now and figures to be still the better scoring squad for at least several more seasons.

What I worry about though is what DeAngelo will do when he isn't playing for his next deal. By that I mean if we look at the last time he had a great season, it was 2019-20 and lo and behold he was playing for a new deal. But once he had a big contract in his pocket, trouble started. No question DeAngelo will again earn a sizeable deal after how he's fared this season, and it likely will dwarf the two-year contract he inked with New York after 2019-20. If he felt emboldened to show his true colors after he signed that deal, one can only imagine what could be in store this time. Yes, people can mature and move past issues they had as a younger player; however, one need only look at Evander Kane to see that sometimes leopards indeed don't change their spots.

Trying to find player comparables for Dahlin is difficult, as dating all the way back to 1990-91 Quinn Hughes is the only other defenseman to have two seasons averaging .66 points per game or better by age 21. The problem is Hughes is only 22 now, so we aren't able to see into what the future might have in store for Dahlin, except for the