Chris Dahlquist honed his hockey skills playing in the NCAA where he was a member of the Lake Superior State team for four years from 1981 to 1985. He played in no less than 35 games in each season and was counted on as a steady influence on the defense.
In 1985 he signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In five games he had a goal and two assists. The bulk of the season was spent with the AHL's Baltimore Skipjacks where he appeared in 65 games, scoring four goals and 21 assists for 25 points. The following year he managed to get in 19 games with the Penguins, mostly filling in for other injured players. It was not until the 1987-88 season that Dahlquist managed to get in 44 games with Pittsburgh.
In 1989-90, Dahlquist suited up for 62 games, scoring four goals and ten assists, his most productive NHL season from an offensive point of view. Midway through the 1990-91 campaign, Dahlquist was dealt to the Minnesota North Stars. Ironically, the Penguins and the North Stars would meet in the Stanley Cup finals that year, with Dahlquist's former club coming out on top. He was on the team's playoff roster for 23 games that year, scoring one goal and six assists.
The 1991-92 season saw Dahlquist suit up for 74 games with the North Stars, the first time in his career he had played in more than 70 games in a season. He would match that the next two years in Calgary, playing in 74 and 77 games, respectively.
After two seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Dahlquist's NHL career came to an end after the 1995-96 season. He played in a total of 532 games, scoring 19 goals and 71 assists for 90 points and 488 minutes in penalties.