Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Kirby Dach Set to Make NHL Debut Tonight

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 has been confirmed by multiple Chicago Blackhawks’ sources that 2019 3rd overall pick, Kirby Dach, will make his NHL debut tonight.

Tonight, we get a glimpse into the future as Chicago Blackhawks’ top prospect, Kirby Dach, will make his NHL debut tonight at home against the Washington Capitals. Blackhawks fans have been waiting for this moment since Dach’s name was called on June 21, 2019.

The day is finally here! What can we expect to see from Dach in tonight’s game and where will he play? That is still to be determined, as no official lineups have been announced yet. However, we do know that Corey Crawford will be starting in net. It seems as if the Blackhawks will be making the goaltending situation into an even split. So far, Jeremy Colliton has rotated Robin Lehner in every other start with Crawford. It’s not a bad plan, as it keeps both goalies fresh, but consistency could become an issue down the line.

As for Kirby Dach’s usage in tonight’s game, it is still unclear as to how he will be used. Colliton could opt to use him as a center or winger. Dach’s natural position is center, but he also has the skill set of a winger. The rookie’s versatility could prove valuable, especially when creating lineups. Breaking into the league as a winger would definitely help cut the learning curve down.

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In my last article late Friday night, I did throw out some potential lineups that could work. My first thought was a Drake CaggiulaJonathan Toews-Kirby Dach 1st line. Another potential 1st line could be Brandon Saad-Jonathan Toews-Kirby Dach. The combination of a fired-up Saad and the injection of a young stud, in Dach, could help light a fire under Toews and get him back on track.

If Colliton doesn’t want to put that much pressure on Dach to start his NHL career, that is fine as well. I could also see Dach on the 2nd line in the right-wing spot. An Alex DeBrincatDylan Strome-Kirby Dach 2nd line could give the Capitals a hard time, as it would be difficult to shut down that much offensive firepower regularly. Dach would also be able to rotate in on faceoffs, if Strome continues to struggle (37.5%).

One other viable option would be to swap Kirby Dach in for David Kampf as the 3rd line center. While Kampf does provide a steady defensive presence, he struggles at the faceoff dot (43.1%). Insert Dach, and that Chicago Blackhawks’ dominant 3rd line adds a whole new dimension. A Brandon Saad-Kirby Dach-Dominik Kubalik 3rd line could be a real mismatch for any team, especially with how hot Saad has been to start the 2019-20 NHL season.

Dach will also provide the special teams with a nice boost, especially on the power play which currently ranks 13th (23.1%). It would make sense to add Dach to the 2nd power-play unit, so the 1st unit doesn’t have to keep playing the entire two minutes of the man advantage. Plus, having a viable 2nd unit will help keep the opposing penalty kill on their toes. Different looks will help sway the power-play back in the Blackhawks’ favor.

My Predictions for Chicago Blackhawks’ Lines & Pairings Tonight vs. WSH:

Corey Crawford is starting in net tonight, so hopefully, he can build off of that impressive 1 goal performance against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Anything less than his best will put the Blackhawks in a tough spot against the Capitals.

Here are the forward lines and defensive pairings that I would like to see tonight, or at some point in the near future:

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

I don’t know about you, but these lines actually get me excited. Tonight will be our first real look at Kirby Dach in a Chicago Blackhawks’ sweater. While I have high expectations for Dach, and you should too, just keep in mind that this is his 1st NHL game. Rookies are bound to have ups and downs, but hopefully, there are more ups than downs.

Dach has looked really good to this point though. He has also been fairly well-spoken. Eric Lear caught up with the rookie to get his thoughts on his 1st NHL game.

Recently, Jeremy Colliton addressed the media in regards to the announcement of Kirby Dach making his NHL debut tonight. Colliton appears to have total confidence in Dach.

You can catch Dach and the Blackhawks in action tonight at 6 pm, so set your DVRs! You won’t want to miss this one! This is truly an exciting time for Chicago Blackhawks fans. All of us here at Blackhawk Up would like to wish Kirby Dach and the Blackhawks the best of luck tonight against the Washington Capitals. Let’s go ‘Hawks!

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