Blackhawks: Will NHL pause help or hurt Kirby Dach
By Michael Wagner
While this extended break is a blessing for many of the Chicago Blackhawks veterans will extended time away from hockey help or hurt the 2019 3rd overall pick, Kirby Dach?
We are now over 70 days since the last time the Chicago Blackhawks have hit the ice surface but with news of NHL potentially returning within the next couple of months it is time to start looking at how this line up could shape up in a 24 team playoff bracket. One player who is a key figure for the Blackhawks currently and in the future is their first-round pick from a year ago, Kirby Dach.
It has been a roller-coaster season for the rookie forward as he dominated during the off-season rookie tournament, only to sustain a head injury in the final game. That head injury ended up completely derailing his training camp and it seemed as though the 18-year-old (at the time) would be destined for a return to junior hockey.
That was not to be as the Blackhawks would hold onto Dach and got him into his first NHL game on October 20th against the Washington Capitals. As the season progressed Dach continued to get middling ice time but also received a commitment from the front office that he would not be returned to junior hockey and was going to be a fixture of the NHL lineup.
Like any rookie, Dach has had his fair share of struggles recording only 23 points over his 64 games of play and seemingly not having any sort of consistency within the lineup. Over his last 29 games, all of 2020, he has only recorded 12 points but has seen a more consistent bump in his ice time.
Struggles like this are expected with his lack of a training camp along with him not finding his consistent spot within Colliton’s lineup all season. So what does a 70-plus day-break do for a player like Dach whole has struggled to find consistency but is also maturing physically and cerebrally as a hockey player.
Of course, we haven’t gotten a look at what players have been up to during this pandemic but for a player like Dach, it is imaginable that he has spent his quarantine working on getting 100% healthy which he has struggled with during the season as well as getting a deeper dive into the mental part of the game, watching game film and learning Colliton’s system to a tee.
While hockey is not going to be back immediately and it appears at the moment that the Blackhawks will get a chance at some playoff hockey, it will be interesting to see what Dach’s role will be. This playoff opportunity could be a huge way for him to get a real taste of playoff hockey in Chicago, something the fans and veterans have been chomping at the bit for.
That will be how we can gauge how this break has affected this fixture of the Blackhawks now and into the future.