Kirby Dach is a good player for the Blackhawks, but his face-off percentage and points production needs some work.
Let’s be honest: the Blackhawks rushed Kirby Dach to the NHL before he was ready. Unlike Patrick Kane, who took the league by storm in his rookie season, it was obvious that a young Kirby Dach, no matter how good he was in his rookie year training camp, should have spent some time in the minors or gone back to his junior team for the season.
This has been a constant under Stan Bowman: draft prospects with high upside, only to potential ruin their confidence by bringing them up to the big leagues way too soon. Hopefully, under Kyle Davidson, this will not be the case anymore and he will allow his prospects to improve their game in the AHL or juniors before they are brought up to the big leagues.
What I am NOT saying is that Kirby Dach is a bad player who needs to get better at his game. What I AM saying is that Dach was brought up too early to where some aspects of his game are not as developed or clean as they should be at this point in his career. I’m pretty sure we all know what this “aspect of his game” is:
Yes, faceoff success. The line of Alex Debrincat, Kane, and Dach was full of excitement and fanfare before the season began. “What could this powerhouse of a line get done this year?” was a main conversation topic due to their success in the play-in round in 2020. Now? There is still a ton of potential for this line IF Dach can start winning his face-offs. Given the fact that his face-off win percentage has never eclipsed 40%, I think he needs some time in the minors to polish his technique.
If you hope to be the next Blackhawks star, you need to polish up on what your position requires. As a center, your priority has to be, yes, faceoffs. Your line will never possess the puck if you can’t win your draws, and unfortunately Kirby Dach has not been able to win his draws on a consistent basis.
Dach is still very young, and his game has a lot of time to improve, but I think he would be better off in the minors at the moment. Until his faceoff percentage dominates the AHL, then he can take back his first-line center spot. While Dach is in Rockford, Dylan Strome could come in and take that first-line center spot until Dach comes back.
Yes, this is controversial, but I think this is necessary for Dach’s development as a player. The worst thing for him would be his lack of confidence in the dot for the remainder of his career.