Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Effects of a Kirby Dach NHL Call-Up

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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It’s official: the Chicago Blackhawks have recalled Kirby Dach from the Rockford IceHogs.

After the overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks had even more good news to share after the game. Kirby Dach has been recalled to the NHL from his conditioning assignment with the Rockford IceHogs. What does this mean for Dach and the Blackhawks going forward?

In my opinion, I only see positives here. Kirby Dach was having a great camp with the Blackhawks before his concussion and was likely going to start the 2019-20 season off in the NHL. His concussion only delayed the inevitable. Now that he is getting his shot, I can’t wait to see what the kid can do.

Kirby Dach didn’t spend much time in Rockford or compile any crazy stats, but he did look good and that’s what really matters. Dach played in 3 games for the IceHogs, but didn’t record a single point. However, he did record an impressive highlight play. Here, Dach displays his elite puckhandling skills.

Earlier on Friday night, Dach took a hard fall while driving to the net, but thankfully, he ended up being okay. It is nice to see he is not shying away from contact and still plays aggressively after returning from a concussion just a few days ago. This drive to the net was a pure power forward move.

Where Does Kirby Dach Fit with the Chicago Blackhawks?

This is a question that is currently on the minds of Chicago Blackhawks fans everywhere, including myself. Kirby Dach is naturally a center, but he has the skill set of a winger. It is for this reason that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeremy Colliton ease Dach into the NHL as a winger. It would reduce the learning curve for the rookie.

The Chicago Blackhawks also have the luxury of roster depth for the first time in a while. This also allows Colliton to be creative when trying to find a spot for Kirby Dach. I could see Dach getting slotted in on a few different lines.

A 1st line of Drake CaggiulaJonathan Toews-Kirby Dach sounds interesting. Maybe even an Alexander Nylander-Jonathan Toews-Kirby Dach line could work. I also wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Brandon Saad-Jonathan Toews-Kirby Dach on the 1st line. Saad has been red hot and noticeable in every game and Toews recently scored his first goal of the season. The combination of a hot player and a young stud could light a fire under Toews.

As for other landing spots for Dach, I could also see him on the 2nd line. Can you imagine a 2nd line consisting of Alex DeBrincatDylan Strome-Kirby Dach? That line would definitely give opposing teams some trouble, as it would be hard to regularly stop that much offensive firepower.

Another option would be to take over that 3rd line center spot from David Kampf. That third line of Brandon Saad-David Kampf-Dominik Kubalik has arguably been the Chicago Blackhawks’ best line and that is with Kampf struggling at the faceoff dot. Dach could step in and elevate the play of the third line even more. That sure sounds good to me.

More from Blackhawk Up

Adding Kirby Dach to the lineup also gives Colliton more flexibility with the power play. Dach would give the 2nd power-play unit a nice boost. Plus, it would save Patrick Kane from playing the entire two minutes of the man advantage.

We don’t need a burned-out Patrick Kane. We all saw what happened at the end of the 2018-19 season. Kane faded towards the end and I can’t blame him. He carried the Blackhawks for the majority of last season.

Final Thoughts

I would like to see this lineup when Kirby Dach makes his NHL debut with the Blackhawks, which could be as soon as Sunday against the Capitals:

Drake Caggiula-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat-Dylan Strome-Kirby Dach
Brandon Saad-Andrew Shaw-Dominik Kubalik
Zack SmithRyan Carpenter-David Kampf

Duncan KeithConnor Murphy
Erik GustafssonCalvin de Haan
Olli MaattaBrent Seabrook

PP1:
Dylan Strome-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Erik Gustafsson-Alex DeBrincat

PP2:
Brandon Saad-Andrew Shaw-Kirby Dach
Duncan Keith-Dominik Kubalik

PK1:
Ryan Carpenter-Brandon Saad
Calvin de Haan-Connor Murphy

PK2:
Zack Smith-David Kampf
Duncan Keith-Olli Maatta

Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals will be a fun one. You won’t want to miss it, especially if Kirby Dach makes his NHL debut. The anticipation is killing me and now I have all of these potential line combinations running through my head. Stay tuned, as we will know more about Dach’s debut as it gets closer to game time. Sunday — 6 pm — be there or be square.

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