Eric Daze

When thinking back on Eric Daze, the words "what if . . . " come up a lot.

Daze, drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 4th round, 90th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, was a giant of the hockey arena, standing tall at 6’6″ and 222 pounds, even without his skates. The guy was as strong as a bull, although that left everyone just wanting more. He never backed down from anybody, but on too many nights he failed to initiate much on the physical end of things. As a result Daze always had his fair share of critics calling for a higher compete level from him.

Making him more impressive was his hand skills. He had the soft hands, for shooting and puckhandling, that are usually reserved for players much smaller than him. He had a strong shot without much of a back swing and enough dangle while carrying the puck to draw defenders to him, allowing him to slip the puck into the vacated space to a streaking teammate.

Big number 55 was hardly a speed-demon either, though in his era he had decent skating ability amongst the lumbering big men. He skated well enough to play alongside Alexei Zhamnov and Tony Amonte for some time in Chicago.

Ultimately, Daze never really fulfilled his potential. Even the biggest men in hockey can not effectively play through serious back injuries, and that is exactly what happened to Daze. Three times in 5 years he had surgeries to repair herniated discs in his back. But the multiple come back attempts always were met with constant pain.

As a result Daze played only 20 games in his final two seasons, even though he had taken a full year off in between those campaigns (due to the NHL lockout).

Daze played in 601 NHL games, scoring 226 goals and 172 assists for 398 points. Four times he topped the 30 goal mark, including in his best season, 2001-02 when he scored a career high 38 goals and 70 points.


Frankie,  2:57 PM  

What a shame what happened to him..plagued by injuries..big powerforward with goalscoring touch! my eyes as good as Tkachuk or LeClair..what if...

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