Kirby Dach Was A Steal For The Blackhawks At The Draft

Chicago Blackhawks, Kirby Dach (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks, Kirby Dach (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Kirby Dach with the third overall pick at the last NHL draft, and this past season has shown he could have gone higher.

I was not too happy when the Blackhawks drafted Kirby Dach last summer. Honestly, I wanted to see the ‘Hawks add a young defenseman, Bowen Byram, at the draft. He looked like the best blueliner available and looked like someone that would have been a steal with the third overall pick.

While Byram still has time to prove that he should have been drafted above Dach, Dach is making the case that he is the best from the entire draft class. Chicago has not seen a player go straight from the draft to the NHL since Patrick Kane, and the fact that Dach did just that shows he is the real deal.

It might seem that Stan Bowman just drafted the player that looked most NHL ready at the time, and that would be true, Dach does have the size to be an NHL player, and he proved that he could mix into a lineup to help a team win. But Dach did more than mix into the lineup for the Blackhawks. He went out and dominated play at times.

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I loved watching Dach skate up ice with the puck. He had an elusive skating ability that got him past so many defenders. His reach with the puck was second to none on the team, and he showcased that he can be a top player in the NHL someday. Dach looks even better when you compare him to the other rookies from his draft class.

Only four other players drafted at the 2019 NHL draft broke into the lineup this past season. Jack Hughes, Kaapo KakkoVille Heinola, and Tobias Bjornfot all made their debuts this past season. Hughes and Kakko were on par with Dach, as they all played at least 60 games. Heinola and Bjornfot did not crack ten.

Hughes, Kakko, and Dach were the three top picks at the draft this past season. They all are going to have bright NHL careers, but if this past season showed anything, it is that Dach is at the same level as the number one and two picks.

At the time, it seemed like Hughes and Kakko were going to be generational talents in the NHL, and then after that, it looked like everyone else was more middle of the pack. However, Dach put up the same amount of points as Kakko and put up two more than Jack Hughes. Dach also had the best possession stats with a Corsi percentage of 48.4

Jack Hughes did not get a crack at postseason hockey this past year, but both Kakko and Dach did. Kakko did not register a point in the three playoff games for the Rangers, while Dach put up 6 points in 9 games. Not only are those six playoff points remarkable for Dach, but he also was playing on average 19:24 minutes a night. That is not the amount of ice time you would usually see from a rookie.

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There is still a lot of hockey to be played amongst these three players. Hughes and Kakko are only going to get better, but for now, Dach does look just as elite. These three players are always going to get compared to each other throughout their entire careers. But just maybe a few years down the line, we will be talking about how lucky it was that Dach fell to number three in the draft instead of going one or two.