The debate still rages on. Who won the Kirby Dach deal?
The deal officially was a two-part deal as the New York Islanders had to trade their #13 overall selection for young defender Alexander Romanov (38th overall in 2018 by the Habs). An update: Romanov, about to be 24 years old, has 7 points in 32 games skating mainly with Noah Dobson of late on the top line. He is a nice young player overall, but perhaps giving up the 13th pick was a bit rich.
The Canadiens would then trade that #13 pick along with pick #66 to the Chicago Blackhawks for young (and former #3 overall selection) forward Kirby Dach. Montreal was looking for size and skill in their top 6 and in a presumed weaker draft pulled the trigger. The Blackhawks with a young GM looking to quickly rebuild made the deal with a different approach. Chicago wanted to get faster and tougher to play against.
Perhaps though it simply goes to the fact that Kirby Dach was two things to GM Davidson: A. Not his pick and B. A potential injury risk throughout his career. To this day 2 things I believe are true on Kirby Dach; that he is a talented player that will likely be a good top 6 forward and that yes he may battle injuries throughout his time in the NHL.
With those two acquired picks Kyle Davidson selected Frank Nazar III and Gavin Hayes. You can click on both of their names for updates on their play and projections from recent articles. This type of blockbuster deal is the sort of bridge needed to add even more vitriol to a long and historical rivalry.
In 1971, the pocket rocket himself Henri Richard (yes, the award) won the Cup final for the Habs over the Blackhawks to claim abother etching on the most glorious award in sports. Then just 2 years later they met again in the final to see the Canadiens win again 4-2 in a series that saw each team score at least 7 goals twice in the series.
It has been awhile since either team were good at the same time though. As we enter this Friday clash for the Holidays it's important to see that each team is banking on their young rosters to help guide their franchises back to prominence.
The Canadiens (33pts in 32 games) are led by their 2 young stars Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. The two have combined for over 50 points through 32 games (each) and will be the key focus of coach Luke Richardson today. The play of former #1 overall selection Juraj Slafkovsky has improved of late too and the big forward should prove troublesome for a Chicago team lacking blue line depth at the moment.
With 28 points in his first 31 matchups and on a 74 point pace for the season, Connor Bedard has been playing some of his best hockey of late. After an outstanding performance against the Colorado Avalanche, the Hawks will look to continue this effort against Montreal.
So for me at least, throw out the records on this one. I expect big hits, some fights, a raucous crowd and a game that could be a true joy to watch in terms of competitive spirit (tis the season afterall).