Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Kirby Dach Makes Strong Impression in Debut

By Joel Santelli
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20: Kirby Dach #77 of the Chicago Blackhawks watches for the puck in the first period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center on October 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 20: Kirby Dach #77 of the Chicago Blackhawks watches for the puck in the first period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center on October 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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After months of anticipation, Kirby Dach made his Chicago Blackhawks debut.

Chicago Blackhawks 2019 3rd overall pick, Kirby Dach, made a strong first impression on his teammates and his head coach, Jeremy a Colliton.

Dach suited up in front of his family, who made the trip from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta a day in advance when they found out Dach was going to make his NHL debut. After playing three games with the Rockford IceHogs on a conditioning stint, the Blackhawks’ brass deemed Dach ready for his shot in the NHL.

Prior to his debut, Dach stated the following to the media:

"“Grew up my whole life wanting to do this, so for me to get this opportunity now, it’s awesome. Kind of speechless and at a loss for words. I’ve just got to go out there and play my game and focus on all the little things that the coaching staff wants me to do.”"

Fans and media were predicting where Dach would fall into the lineup. Would it be the third line center position or a spot on the wing? Coach Jeremy Colliton surprised everyone, by placing Dach in the second line center spot with Patrick Kane, and shifting Dylan Strome over to the wing.

Colliton had the second line on to start the game, so Dach got the full experience of playing at the United Center in front of the Chicago faithful.

"“Obviously you have some butterflies in your stomach when the anthem’s going and you’re kind of standing on the blue line looking around. It was good and obviously, the nerves can help sometimes and sometimes they hinder your performance. I tried to do my best not to be nervous.”"

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Kirby Dach’s debut was nothing spectacular, but he did show why he was picked third overall this last draft. High compete level and reading the game well were the big takeaways from Dach in his first NHL game.

Dach used his long frame and stick effectively when battling for pucks along the board as well as when back checking. In his third shift into the game, he was able to set up Kane with a nice scoring chance after making a good play along the boards.

Dach would finish the game going 1 for 5 in faceoffs and no shots on goal in 13:40 of ice time. He had a plus-minus differential of -1 on the night, with a bullet coming from Alex Ovechkin coming in the third period.

https://twitter.com/Capitals/status/1186086542256701440

Dach continues to show maturity beyond his years and that will go a long way for an 18-year-old playing in the NHL. His defensively sound game bodes well for him in getting more opportunities to play with the Chicago Blackhawks this season. As he continues to gain more experience, his mix of skill, strength, and solid 200 foot game could make him a very good line mate for Kane.

Here is what Kane had to say about Dach’s first game:

"“Pretty raw, but for his first game against one of the better teams in the league, I thought he was noticeable, had some good shifts.”"

Coach Colliton was also pleased with Dach’s first performance as a Blackhawk.

"“Really good, very pleased. He looked comfortable, made a lot of plays.”"

Kirby Dach’s next chance to get in the lineup will be on Tuesday, October 22nd against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Later today, we will know whether or not Kirby Dach will suit up for his 2nd career NHL game with the Chicago Blackhawks. Stay tuned for more info!

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