Chicago Blackhawks: Laurent Dauphin’s Fourth-line Potential
By Mario Tirabassi
Secondary piece in Hjalmarsson trade, Laurent Dauphin provides young depth
While the sting of the Chicago Blackhawks trading Niklas Hjalmarsson may still be fresh for some fans, the outlook after the deal provides Chicago plenty of upside. Both returning pieces in the deal, Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin, give the Blackhawks younger and cheaper options on the blue-line and in the bottom-six forward group.
When it comes to Dauphin and his NHL potential, there is more unknown than with Murphy. A former second-round pick with the Arizona Coyotes in 2013, Dauphin has spent the majority of his professional hockey career in the American Hockey League.
In three seasons in the AHL, Dauphin has scored 53 points (29 G, 24 A) in 108 games for the Portland Pirates, Springfield Falcons, and Tucson Roadrunners. Over the past two seasons, Dauphin has made 32 appearances for the Coyotes and has totaled four points.
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Dauphin’s opportunity in Chicago will be with the bottom-six forward group due to the losses of Marcus Kruger, Dennis Rasmussen, and the uncertainty of who or what Joel Quenneville will want from his depth forward group.
It looks as if Tanner Kero will be Chicago’s third-line center option once training camp opens, but the fourth-line has more uncertainty at center.
Vince Hinostroza, Tommy Wingels, and Lance Bouma look to be three options on the roster right now, but all three have spent the majority of their time in the NHL playing on either wing. Dauphin, in his short time in the NHL, plays as a true center which helps his cause looking for playing time at the NHL level.
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Having watched very little of Dauphin personally, his scouting report from The Hockey News reads like a fourth-line, penalty-killing center:
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- Assets: “A true speedster, his skating stride sets him apart from the rest. It helps him create plays and finish them off, as well. It can also be used to disrupt the opposition.”
- Flaws: “Needs to do a better job of developing his game, and part of that will be slowing things down a notch when the situation warrants. Must also add significant bulk.”
- Career Potential: “Speedy energy forward with some upside.”
After talking with fans more familiar with the Coyotes and Dauphin’s game, it became more clear that his short-term potential sits at being an in-between NHL and AHL player, but with a proper year of development, would be a legitimate fourth-line NHL center option by next season.
He does a lot of things well, but nothing stands out as great. His work-ethic is high and makes up for lack of high-end skill by out-working his opposition. It will be interesting to see what Dauphin brings to the table this summer as Chicago Prospect Camp opens up on July 17th and Training Camp rolls around in September.