Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has made his splash. The Canadiens have dealt defenseman Alexander Romanov and pick 98 to the New York Islanders for the 13th pick. They then sent pick 13 and 66 to Chicago for center Kirby Dach. The teams have all announced the trades.
This is an absolute whopper of a three-team deal. The Blackhawks, who already acquired a first-rounder earlier today, add a second top-fifteen pick in exchange for Dach, the third-overall pick in 2019. They also add the 66th pick as part of the deal as well. For Chicago, this is another move for Kyle Davidson in his quest to add more long-term future assets. Dach was a promising prospect but a mix of injuries and underperformance is what has led to this trade. The Blackhawks, who entered today with no first round picks, have now amassed a small stockpile of picks in very short order.
For the Islanders, GM Lou Lamoriello adds a young defenseman who plays the sort of highly physical, rugged game that the Islanders covet. Romanov, 22, was a second-rounder at the 2018 draft and already has 133 NHL games to his name. His offensive upside is still up for debate, but he has played an increasingly important role in Montreal and should step into the Islanders defense and play immediately. There were defensemen set to be available at thirteenth overall, but Lamoriello and the Islanders seemingly preferred a more NHL-ready option with that pick.
In Dach, the Canadiens add a player who only a few years ago was the third-overall pick. Dach is a big center who starred for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL, scoring 72 points in 62 games in his final season there. Dach has struggled in the NHL, perhaps a signal that he should have spent more time developing in Saskatoon before making the transition to the professional game. Dach has 59 points in 152 games and it could be that a change of scenery is exactly what he needs to get his career back on track. It’s a major risk for the Canadiens, as they’re spending a top-fifteen pick on a player who has thus far struggled to be a difference-maker at the NHL level. That being said, if the Canadiens’ evaluation of Dach is correct, they could be adding the type of big, top-six center that is coveted by most GMs and unlikely to be available to them at pick 13.