Blackhawks: Predicting a breakout season for Kirby Dach in 2020-21
By Ryan Fedrau
Kirby Dach has spent 64 games in the NHL this season with the Chicago Blackhawks. With his rookie season coming to a close, I believe Dach will break out next season.
Kirby Dach was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with the third overall pick in last year’s draft. Choosing Dach over a handful of other talented players surprised me, but I have taken a different route. I do think Dach will be a star for Chicago.
Dach sits at 6-foot-4, 197 pounds. I think he’ll balk up in the summer and come in around 210, he should get bigger. He is a very physical player, which I love about him. People already have a tough time knocking the puck off of him, if he gets bigger, it’ll be harder to do so.
Now, remember, Dach just turned 19 a few months ago. He isn’t the best he can be just yet. He had a sluggish rookie season, but so did a lot of the other top draft picks from last year’s draft. I expect a total 180 turn in 2020-21.
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In 64 games, Dach has eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points. Next season, I believe he will score at least 20 goals and have 30 assists for 50 points. Of course, that is if he doesn’t get injured. I made a solid prediction about Brandon Saad last season, which would have been correct if he didn’t get hurt.
There are a lot of positives to Dach’s game. I want to focus on the negatives though. He needs to work on his faceoff percentage. He won just 75 faceoffs while losing 147. That’s a 33.8% win rate. An elite centerman cannot have such low numbers.
He’s a good skater, but I believe he can get better on his edges. That’s something that will come with time in the league for Dach. He’s been catching up to the speed of the game throughout the season. Next season, he’ll have the speed down pat, that is when he’ll shine.
I do think he is a very smart player and knows how to set up plays. His pass-first mentality works with players with the skill level of Patrick Kane, but he needs to shoot more often. 147 shots, with just 101 going on net in 64 games isn’t enough. That’s shooting 2.2 times a game, with just .6 of the shots getting to the net.
From Dach, I want to see him shoot the puck more frequently, maybe two to three times more a game.
If the role of a center doesn’t work out for him, he can always get moved to the left side and play on the wing. If they put Dach on a line with Kane, they could set up some special plays together. We’ll see what the Blackhawks decide to do in 2020-21 with Dach.
Expect big things from the 19-year-old forward. He has a bright future with the team and could be a difference-maker for the next generation of talent. I’m excited to see what he can do next season.