By: Alex Patt
The Chicago Blackhawks have officially selected center Kirby Dach with the third-overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft. Dach was picked after Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. This pick came with some controversy as GM Stan Bowman passed on defenseman Bowen Byram, who was picked fourth just after the Blackhawks by Colorado.
Dach (18) is a center from St. Albert, Alberta, Canada and is listed at 6’4″, 198 pounds. Multiple sports outlets including The Athletic, eliteprospects.com and NHL Central Scouting had him ranked as a top-10 incoming prospect. There was speculation that the Blackhawks were going to trade down to get him and get a bundle of assets seeing as their interest in Dach was apparent and he was often projected to be around a 7-12 pick. They rolled the dice and took him at #3.
Last season in the WHL, Dach scored 25 goals with 48 assists totaling 73 points in 62 games. He is a guy who will make plays and set up scorers. Scouting report says he has great vision with the ability to control the puck and pass very well and the finesse to work his way around defenders to drive to the net. His size and strength is a welcome addition to the Blackhawks core of forwards who have struggled with center depth recently. Dach will have the opportunity to play with Jonathan Toews and learn a thing or two from him.
Bowman said he, “Really fell in love with his game.” and hopes he can make an impact on the NHL club as soon as possible. Time will tell how long it will take for him to get here, but some experts speculate he may be a year or so away from NHL level play.
Will the Blackhawks regret passing on Byram? He is clearly the best defenseman in the draft and looks to make an immediate impact when he hits NHL ice. No question defense is the biggest need and it may end up being a big mistake not taking him. However the upside to Dach cannot be ignored. He is currently being compared to long-time Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf. Take that as you will, because it still may not make Blackhawks fan feel better about passing on Byram. Time will tell how he turns out.
Welcome to Chicago, Kirby Dach.