The Chicago Blackhawks have been very careful with their 2019 first-round pick, Kirby Dach. The 18-year-old center, who was chosen with the third-overall pick, suffered a concussion in rookie camp to start the year, missing training camp. He began the season with an injured/non-roster designation and was immediately assigned to the AHL Rockford IceHogs on a conditioning stint last week. However, NBC Sports’ Charlie Roumeliotis reports that Dach, who was recalled by the Blackhawks on Friday is expected to play today’s game against the Washington Capitals.
Dach wasn’t particulary dominant in his three appearances for the IceHogs, scoring no points in his conditioning stint, so there is no guarantee that Dach will remain in Chicago for the rest of the season or eventually be returned to his junior club, the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. The Blackhawks can play him for up to nine games in the NHL before burning the first-year of his entry-level contract and the team might consider bringing him along slowly before having to make that decision.
The Athletic’s Scott Powers reports that head coach Jeremy Colliton said they will be taking a game-by-game approach to see determine what to do with Dach. In fact, the coach wasn’t even sure where in the lineup Dach might play tonight. There is talk that Chicago might opt to play him on the wing to give him an easier time in his debut.
“I think he can play either one, which is a big benefit for us,” said Colliton. “Probably long term he’s a center, but it’s only a benefit to be versatile.”
Dach dominated the junior level at 17 years old. In 62 games, the 6-foot-4 center scored 25 goals and added 48 assists. He was considered to be one of the best playmaking centers in the draft and should be a key piece to the Blackhawks’ future whether that starts today or in the near future.