Kirby Dach: Get to Know the Canadiens’ Newest Offseason Acquisition

The Montreal Canadiens made a big splash in front of their fans at the Bell Centre during round one of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on Thursday night, completing two significant trades that will give their roster a new look for the 2022-23 season and beyond.

Not only did Kent Hughes and company select talented Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky with the first overall pick, but the general manager also acquired 21-year-old centre Kirby Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks. First, he had to get the no. 13 pick in the draft from the New York Islanders in exchange for Alexander Romanov which was then flipped to the Blackhawks to land Dach who will likely slot behind Nick Suzuki down the middle in Montreal’s top-six.

Here are a few interesting things to know about the Canadiens’ latest addition.

He Has Some Canadiens Connections

Dach will be reuniting with a few familiar faces in Montreal including Justin Barron and Kaiden Guhle. The three were teammates at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship with Canada. Nick Suzuki’s brother, Ryan, was also a member of the team.

Kirby Dach Chicago Blackhawks
Kirby Dach is the newest member of the Montreal Canadiens.
(Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Dach and Guhle train together during the summer and made sure to text each other after the trade went down. Hughes mentioned that he consulted Barron to pick his brain about his good friend before going through with the deal.

Canadiens executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton had the chance to take Dach with the no. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft when he was general manager of the New York Rangers and very nearly did so it’s not surprising that he jumped at the chance to pursue him when the Blackhawks made him available. Especially since the Habs were looking to add size and fill a gaping hole at centre. At 6’4”, the highly skilled Dach fills both of those needs.  

He Is Excited About a Fresh Start

It’s been a challenging few years for Dach who has yet to unlock his full potential in the NHL. During the World Juniors, he suffered a wrist injury during a pre-tournament game that knocked him out of the event. A shame because he was named captain of Team Canada and missed out on a great opportunity. The injury ultimately required surgery which needed months of rehab and recovery. This season was a struggle for the Blackhawks from start to finish and Dach’s development suffered as a result.

In 152 games, he’s put up 19 goals and 59 points, statistics that aren’t reminiscent of a former third-overall pick. The Habs are hoping that a change of scenery will help him reach his potential. Not to mention the opportunity to work with and learn from head coach Martin St. Louis. Dach believes that he can flourish in Montreal and become a big part of the team’s young core.

Hockey Runs in His Family

After drafting Dach in 2019, the Blackhawks also selected his younger brother, Colton, in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft and they have signed him to an entry-level contract.

Related: Host Canadiens Steal Show by Getting Slafkovsky, Dach at 2022 Draft

Born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, both brothers played their junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League. Kirby put up 25 goals and 73 points in 62 games for Saskatoon during his draft year. When he arrived in Chicago, he lived with Brent Seabrook to help with his transition to the big leagues.

Dach considers himself to be a foodie and an avid shopper, so he’s excited to discover Montreal’s many famous restaurants as well as the city’s wide range of shopping options. It certainly feels like the Canadiens will be a nice fit for Dach, both on and off the ice. If he can showcase his skills and help the Habs rebuild into a contender, they will be a match made in hockey heaven.