Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: The Ins-and-Outs of Kirby Dach’s Contract

By Tony Gianares
Chicago Blackhawks, Kirby Dach (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks, Kirby Dach (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Kirby Dach has signed a 3-year entry level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. What does this mean going forward?

The Blackhawks signed 2019 3rd overall pick, Kirby Dach, to a 3-year, $2.775 mil ($925k AAV) entry-level contract. Circle this date on your calendars, July 8th, 2019. The Dach Era has officially begun.

You might be wondering what happens next. An entry-level contract allows a player to play in 9 NHL games without burning a year of their contract.

I believe this would be the best route to go. If Dach can take advantage of this 9-game audition and prove himself worthy of staying on for the 2019-20 season, then I’m all for it.

If the Blackhawks decide that Dach is not exactly ready for the NHL, things get a little tricky. In the case that Dach doesn’t make the NHL roster, he would have to play another season of major-junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. He would become eligible for the AHL after the conclusion of the WHL season.

The Blackhawks desperately need more game changers and playmakers, but there’s no sense in rushing a young player and have him become a bust. They cannot afford a bust in this stage of the rebuild.

Stan Bowman has gone on record and said that Kirby Dach will be given every possible opportunity to make the roster, so Dach holds his own fate.

Of course, I’d love to see him in a Blackhawks sweater in 2019-20, but ultimately, whether or not that happens is up to Dach.

Projected 2019-20 Chicago Blackhawks Lines with Kirby Dach

The Blackhawks had a lack of roster depth last season and they addressed that issue during the offseason with the 2019 NHL Draft, trades, and free agency.

The Top 9 is much more solid with the additions of Andrew Shaw, Dominik Kubalik, and others. The Bottom 6 and penalty kill also looks a lot better with the addition of the defensive-minded Ryan Carpenter.

Where does Kirby Dach fit in the midst of the shuffle of new faces? Let’s take a closer look at where Dach could fit. In order to get under the $81.5 mil salary cap for these theoretical line combinations, I traded Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators for a 4th round pick.

Option 1: Kirby Dach, 3rd line center

Option 2: Kirby Dach, 2nd line center

Option 3: Find a wing spot for Kirby Dach

The least stressful way for a young player to break into the NHL is to start out on the wing. Sliding Kirby Dach into the Top 6 as a winger might make sense, depending on his linemates.

The biggest thing right now is whether or not he’s ready for Top 6 minutes. Development camp and training camp start soon, so we will have a better idea in a few weeks.

https://twitter.com/Certified_TonyG/status/1148331980259581958

Until then, welcome to Chicago (officially), Mr. Dach. I look forward to seeing your growth and future success in a Blackhawks sweater for the next 15-20 years. Let’s bring Lord Stanley home.

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