San Jose Barracuda forward Jonathan Dahlen has shut down his social media accounts after what he called “hateful” messages from Vancouver Canucks fans.
Since being traded to San Jose at the trade deadline, there has been a he-said-she-said situation around Dahlen regarding whether or not his agent requested a trade from Canucks General Manager Jim Benning. Dahlen maintains that he did not request a trade, to both Fear the Fin and in an interview with Sundsvalls Tidning.
In that interview with Sundsvalls Tidning, he details his time with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, and highlights how his development there caused him to struggle mentally, as well. (Translations provided by Patrik Bexell of SB Nation’s Habs Eyes On The Prize):
It has been tough when you don’t want to go to the rink during the days, you feel the pressure and you only get to sit during the games and you only want it to end. It feels you are going the wrong direction. It has been tough mentally and it had transferred to the physical aspect in the way that you lose all your energy.
My whole career I have loved hockey, I have always been happy and I have gained energy from it, I have walked around with a smile on my face. It has been tough when you haven’t really been given the chance to play your own game, and if you make a mistake you get to sit and you get an earful. I have been in a tough spot, it works for some, but not for me.
In an interview with HockeyNews.se, Dahlen explains that Utica’s system wasn’t a fit and aggravated those anxieties.
I have had a tough season and I have been feeling up and down. They have treated me in a way that hasn’t brought forward the best hockey player in me nor developed me in the right way. That’s what I have told the agent, that it is the wrong way to treat me if they want me to develop.
When asked to explain what specifically didn’t work, he added:
I have had fantastic teammates and captains in the team, the guys are wonderful, but it is in the way they try to develop young players. It’s been the opposite way for me and if feels like they have put me down rather than to have had them lift me up. Instead of making me a better player it has become the opposite. I haven’t been able to do anything offensively and it has lead to me being afraid to be benched if I have made a mistake.
We have tried to change the situation but in the end I think they got fed up with me not feeling well or the fact that I felt that I was miss-treated, and they traded me.
It should come as no surprise then, given his descriptions of his mental state before the trade, that when Vancouver fans took to social media to crucify him for asking for a trade — a claim, which, again, Dahlen has denied — that instead of exposing himself to the onslaught of abuse, Dahlen shut down his social media accounts.
“[Canucks fans] have written some really hateful things so I decided to leave both Twitter and Instagram,” he told HockeyNew.se.
Dahlen isn’t the only young prospect to struggle in Utica. Winger Petrus Palmu put up 98 points with the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Attack over 62 games in 2017 before being drafted in the sixth round by the Canucks. Palmu spent 12 games with Utica this season, notching just one assist. The 21-year-old was loaned to TPS in the Finnish Liiga, where he has since put up 17 points in 25 games.
There’s certainly heat to the idea that Utica isn’t working with players in a way that is beneficial to their development, but for fans, Dahlen is the easier target for their anger.
It’s clear Dahlen wants to put his time in Utica behind him and shutting down his social media has unfortunately become a necessary step in that process. His focus is on the San Jose Barracuda, where he has three assists in the three games since joining the team.