Canadiens Draft-Day Trades With Islanders and Blackhawks

The Montreal Canadiens have pulled two blockbuster draft-day trades in order to continue developing their lineup. First, they sent Alexander Romanov and the 98th overall pick in 2022 to the New York Islanders for the 13th overall pick. Following this, they flipped that 13th overall pick along with the 66th overall pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Kirby Dach.

This trade shows many things for all parties involved. First, for the easiest part of this deal to analyze, the Islanders managed to bring in a defenseman who is ready to go right now. Romanov is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman who seems ready to take on a big role in the NHL. In the 2021-22 season, he started in 79 games and averaged more than 20 minutes of ice time each night. To put it simply, at just 22 years old, he has everything you hope for in a young defenseman and he could flourish with New York.

For the Blackhawks, they are continuing their full-on rebuild as they are selling off any asset that has meaningful value on the market this year. This trade of Dach is in line with the deals that sent Brandon Hagel and Alex Debrincat out the door for a package of top-end draft picks.

Related: Blackhawks Trade DeBrincat to Senators for Draft Picks

While trading young top-six forwards isn’t conventional, new Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson is taking his rebuild seriously and is looking to make his mark on the franchise. He isn’t playing games, as he is making those hard moves that he believes will reset his team into a champion in five-plus years.

Canadiens Accelerate Retool With Blockbuster Dach Acquisition

As the host city of the 2022 NHL Draft, many assumed that Montreal’s big moment would be having the first-overall selection. As it turns out, this unexpected trade will likely take all the headlines for days. First for the bad news. giving up Romanov and a handful of picks is not ideal. Top-four defensemen are difficult to find and develop, and top picks can build out a roster for years to come.

Kirby Dach Chicago Blackhawks
The Montreal Canadiens swung a blockbuster trade to acquire Kirby Dach at the 2022 NHL Draft. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

However, this means little when you bring back a talent like Dach. Standing 6-foot-4, he is that perfect big-bodied centerman that the Canadiens believe they will be able to build around for a decade-plus. He was also the third-overall pick in 2019, showing that he has that type of toolkit that general managers dream of.

If things go well, Montreal could have just secured 2/3rds of their top forward line for years to come. That’s worth trading a few picks and a defenseman for. Now it is risky, as Dach hasn’t yet established himself in the NHL. For the moment, though, this feels like a big win for the Canadiens.