It looks like Team Canada may have to go without one of their top forwards on their team after all as Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach will not be joining the team in Czechoslovakia for this month’s World Junior Championships. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Blackhawks will not be releasing the 18-year-old.
Dach burned, the third overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has already burned the first year of his entry-level contract and has already scored five goals and 10 points in 26 games with Chicago. The 6-foot-4 center has been a solid mainstay as a bottom-six center as he gets used to playing with adults in the NHL. The only reason the why Team Canada was holding out hope is that Dach seems to have hit a rookie wall as he hasn’t scored a goal in 12 games.
- The Athletic’s Scott Powers reports that the Blackhawks haven’t yet made a decision on defensman Adam Boqvist, who is also a candidate to be loaned to Sweden for the World Junior Championships. The eighth overall selection in 2018, Boqvist is a different story as he has appeared in eight games so far and has not burned his entry-level contract yet. The team must decide on whether to keep him on their roster and burn that first year of his contract or whether to send him to the WJC and then perhaps let him develop more in the AHL for the remainder of the year. The team will announce their decision after they have come to one.
- The St. Louis Blues are expected to get a much-needed addition as the team announced they are expecting forward Alex Steen to return to the lineup tonight. Steen has been out since Nov. 6 with a high ankle sprain and has missed 16 straight games, but should add some depth to the bottom-six. The 35-year-old has yet to score a goal in 17 games with the Blues this season, but should add some experience and defensive acumen to the St. Louis’ lineup.
- Despite rumors that Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler was injured after missing practice Saturday, The Athletic’s Murat Ates reports that the Jets forward will play Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 33-year-old has eight goals and 23 points this season for the Jets.