2019 NHL Entry Draft: Kirby Dach

The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is less than a week away and we’ve already had a look at the top two prospects according to Central Scouting, which means it’s time for a look at Kirby Dach.

Dach is a big dude at 6’4, 198 pounds and he was ranked second among North American skaters at midterm, but slipped to third among North American skaters just ahead of the Draft. That’s not a knock on the guy at all, however, and it’s clear that this Fort Saskatchewan centre has all the tools to succeed in the NHL.

The Chicago Blackhawks are expected to pick third overall, but it’s not known if Dach is a shoo-in for the slot. Some have him third overall and some have him down at the fourth spot behind Alex Turcotte, but these things are at least partially subjective.

Dach is predominately a playmaking centre and he uses his impressive size to find openings and create opportunities. He finished third in scoring on the Saskatoon Blades this past season, with 25 goals and 48 assists. That’s a big leap from his previous season, during which he scored just seven goals and had 39 assists.

Those numbers helped fuel the Blades to a second place finish in the East this season.

Dach’s debut season in the WHL saw him lead all rookies in assists, plus he finished fourth overall in rookie scoring. And in five games playing for Team Canada at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he scooped up seven points – good for fourth in the tournament.

Dach has earned a lot of comparisons to Anaheim Ducks stalwart Ryan Getzlaf. He likes to use his big frame to safeguard the puck and plays a possession-oriented game until he can make that pass. He excels at screening opponents.

There are problems, however, and skating may be one of them. Reports have him as “average” in that department, with speed an issue. He can lose races to loose pucks and that makes for some missed opportunities. But some reports extol his edge work, which suggests a propensity to use his height to carve out space and maintain balance.

And honestly, skating issues can be alleviated with correct positioning and balanced puck support. Dach can be built into an effective roster and use his playmaking dimensions to get the job done, particularly if paired with a quick winger.

The Blackhawks may want to roll the dice and pick this centre up, but there are risks to consider alongside the rewards.

(Photo credit: NHL.com)

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