Dawes was selected by the New York Rangers in the fifth round of the 2003 NHL Draft, 149th overall.
The diminutive Dawes spent all 4 years of his junior playing career in the WHL, with the Kootenay Ice. After an outstanding sophomore season in 2002-03, in which Dawes recorded 92 points in 72 games, placing third overall in goals scored (47) and tenth in total points. After being drafted in the fifth round by the Rangers, Dawes spent two more years in juniors, continuing to impress with his offensive production
2005-06: The 2005-06 season found Dawes on the first line of the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack, after the small winger was very impressive in the Rangers’ training camp. With 67 points in 77 games, Dawes finished the regular season as the AHL’s second-leading rookie goal-scorer. He was also tied for fourth in points among first-year players.
2006-07: Although Dawes began the 2006-07 as a roster player with the Rangers, he was shortly returned to Hartford and played most of the season there. After a mid-season trade brought Alex Bourret to the Rangers’ organization, it really helped Dawes find his game.
2007-08: Dawes has continued to be moved up and down between the NHL and AHL at the start of the 2007-08 season.
2008-09: Dawes was dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes in the deal that brought Derek Morris to the New York Rangers.