The NHL says that Frank Nazar is a Wing (Revisiting the Kirby Dach Trade)

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

When Kyle Davidson decided to move on from Kirby Dach, it was a bit of a surpirse when Commisssioner Bettman announced it in Montreal. The return however was quite good. The #13 and #66 overall picks for a player that was not producing at the time.

I believe that while Dach has likely found a better fit, his play would have continued on the path that led to the trade had he stayed in Chicago. That's called a win-win. The Blackhawks selected Frank Nazar and Gavin Hayes with those picks.

While Nazar hasn't played at Michigan (out for the season), Gavin Hayes has performed well for Flint in the OHL. Just his second season in the OHL, Hayes has produced just under a point per game at 29 points in 30 games.

Hayes projects as a Dylan Sikura type to me. Someone that has the talent to be an NHL forward, but ultimately will likely be a player that will always be a fringe NHL asset. It's Nazar that was the key to that deal. So what do we have with him?

Frank Nazar isn't a big center. I've seen listings on his size anywhere from 5'9 all the way to 5'11. Make no mistale about it though; Frank Nazar will be undersized if he plays center at the NHL level. I took a look at all 32 rosters and analyzed whom was in their top 2 center spots. It isn't common to see an under 6ft center producing at the highest level.

For every Matt Barzal, Jack Hughes, Brayden Point, Sidney Crosby, or Nick Suzuki there are hundreds of under 6ft centers that were converted to wings or never made it to the NHL. There were many times when I thought, well he is under 6ft.... Nope, Sebastian Aho is 6 foot.

Speed. That is Nazar's game. He is a high velocity tornado coming down center ice and has elite hands to pair with the speed. This is why he went #13. If Nazar was 6ft-6'2 make no mistake about it, he would have gone in the top 5 in the 2022 draft.

I then did a deep dive into the top 50 scorers in the NHL at the current moment to see where these type of players were positioned. Kaprizov, Crosby, Panarin, Hughes, Zuccarelo, Fiala, Gaudreau, Guentzel, Keller, DeBrincat, and Bratt all came up. Patrick Kane is just outside the top 50 for what it's worth.

Out of those 11 players within the top 50 scorers that are under 6ft only 2 are centers. If you look at their time in European leagues, major junior, or college you'll see they spent time as centers. So, to sum up my research:

5 out of 64 top 2 centers were under 6ft and only 2 of 11 of the top scorers in the league are in that same realm as Nazar in terms of size. Right now, the NHL is telling me that the odds of Frank Nazar staying at center are not good.

There has always been a player that I told myself, you know what Nazar just might end up being like this player: Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson. Speed for days, hustle, good puck skill, and can finish. 310 points in just 481 games are good numbers for a second line wing. If that is how Nazars' game ends up, I'm on board.