2019 NHL Draft Profile: Kirby Dach

We continue our previews of potential Blackhawks’ picks in the 2019 NHL Draft. We discussed Dylan Cozens and Vasili Podkolzin.

Now let’s look at Kirby Dach.

Center
Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
6-4, 199 pounds

Ranked #7 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
Ranked #4 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Ranked #7 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #3 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #2 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #4 by TSN/McKenzie

The towering centre is making good on the investment that Saskatoon made when they selected him second overall in 2016 WHL Bantam draft. He leads his team, and all-draft-eligible WHL players in scoring with 11 goals and 34 points in 21 contests. Dach loves to create offense off the half-wall on the power play and slows things down at even-strength to weigh his options. He owns slick hands, a heavy release and great vision.

Dach led all WHL rookies in assists last season with 39 and has a Hlinka gold medal somewhere in his parents home. A cerebral pivot with a massive upside, Dach won’t be waiting long to hear his name called at the draft next June. Cam Robinson

Big-bodied playmaking center with outstanding passing skills and soft hands who is one of the best draft-eligible players at incorporating all his teammates into the attack. Dach has a tremendous wingspan and reach that help him maintain control the puck for lengthy periods inside the offensive zone. He is a confident puck carrier up ice, and you’ll rarely see him advance via direct routes. Dach can create time and space using a variety of methods on zone entries, and he can stutter-step defenders out of position. All these traits force opponents to back away from him, which provides him with the opportunity to unleash a wicked wrist shot. Still, Dach certainly is more of a set-up man than a shooter, and you can make a strong argument that he is the best saucer-passer of any forward prospect.

Dach has elusiveness for a big man, and his agility in tight spaces allows him to outmaneuver pesky opponents. His straight-line speed is average but deceptive, and his skating style and stride appears a bit choppy and short. Nonetheless, Dach has no problem inserting himself into a rush or initiating one himself, and you can count on him to create several odd-man chances each game. He can run a power play from the half wall and has confidence in his passes from either forehand or backhand, and he can sense when the time is right to make a decisive pay during a stagnant possession. Defensively, Dach will pressure the points, and he relies on his long stick to break up plays. He is, however, neither physical nor consistent on draws. Dach will drop down to support his defensemen, but he’ll dig for loose pucks rather than use his strength to knock it free.

Skating

Dach is an impressive skater for his size but will never be known as a burner. He has good top-end speed but his first few steps and his acceleration can use some improvement. He also has very good agility and edgework for his size, allowing him to weave in and out of traffic. His stride is long and powerful and he is very tough to knock off the puck. Dach has excellent balance and this should only improve as he continues to add muscle to his frame going forward. This allows him to fight through checks, control the puck down low, and win battles along the boards.

Offensive Game

At 6-foot-4 Dach has the size to be a powerful centre. Dach takes the puck to the net and is more likely to go through a defender than to try and make a deke to get around him. He is very tough to contain on the cycle, as he protects the puck well and this allows him to extend plays down low and wait for a teammate to get open or for an opposing defender to get out of position. Dach has very good vision and passing skills. He finds open teammates and sets them up for scoring chances in tight.

Dach also has a decent wrist shot and release. This season he started using that shot more and it is leading to goals and opening up defences, making his playmaking skill even more deadly. While he is still a pass first player, the improved willingness to shoot has made a difference in his game. He is very intelligent and reads the play very well. Dach almost always makes the right play with the puck on his stick. This allows him to be the main focal point of the power play, controlling the play on the boards and setting up teammates for scoring chances.

Defensive Game

Dach is also willing to use his body in his own end of the ice. He supports the defence with effective back pressure and works to win battles along the boards and keep the front of the net clear. While he is not a big hitter, he is willing to use his size to his advantage, leaning on opponents to win battles, and using his long reach and active stick to cut down passing lanes. He can be used in all situations, including going against the other team’s best players and killing penalties. Dach is strong in the faceoff circle as well.

Projection and Comparison

Dach is close to being NHL ready but might be best off with one more year of junior hockey. There are some improvements that can still be made in terms of adding muscle to his frame, cleaning up his first step and acceleration, and continuing to have confidence in his shot. Those flaws are minor though and should easily be fixed as he matures. Dach could grow to become a top-line NHL centre. His game is reminiscent of Ryan Getzlaf but this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent.

32 thoughts on “2019 NHL Draft Profile: Kirby Dach

  1. Somebody who will be in conversation too likely, alot to like about him. Surprised to see he is considered strong on faceoffs though. The nightly stats include fos stats and some nights he flirts with 50% and others struggles to get to 25%. His current series against Prince Albert he has games he won 5 out of 18, 4 out of 17, 3 out of 8, 9 out 17, 7out of 15. Typical of games stats i saw this year.

  2. No.

    Afaic. If you want him you should be picking 7th or 8th.

    Hes not a superstar elite player.

    He plays here where i live.

    If hes the 3rd pick Ill be pretty disappointed.

  3. I’ve seen him play about a week ago against Prince Albert in the playoffs and he scored a goal but he just didn’t impress me at all and in fact seemed pretty much invisible for long stretches of the game. Yeah he has size and good offensive skills but I don’t think he is a “plus skater” and he seem almost passive rather than aggressive. The guy that stood out to me in that game was Brett Leason on Prince Albert who is rated in the bottom half of the 1st round. Leason is an over-ager so there is that factor but he looked like the better player by a fair amount.

    After Hughes/Kakko, I would pick either Cozens or Turcotte. I’ve seen Cozens, Dach, Byram, and Krebs play and Cozens was the best play of the bunch when I saw him play. I haven’t seen Turcotte play.

  4. Went to see Boquist (London) and Entwistle (Guelph) square off in Game 6 of their series and it was an excellent game that Guelph won 5-3 with an empty – netter

    Both players played significant roles in the game. After Guelph fell behind 1-0 in the first the game turned on a couple of coaching decisions IMO

    Guelph rejigged their top line to put Entwistle between Nick Suzuki (MTL I think) and Issac Radcliffe (PHI I think) and they contributed 2 goals in the second as Guelph took a 3-2 lead

    Meanwhile London when it was up 1-0 went into a prevent defence and hardly played Boquist at all instead double shifting Evan Bouchard (his regular D partner) – that stared to change once Guelph tied it but Dale Hunter the LND coach clearly doesn’t trust Boquist to defend

    Even though he ended the game -3 (the worst of any player) Bouchard was -2 and was on for all the goals that Boquist was on for and was at least as guilty if not more so

    I bring this up because I thought London under-utilized Boquist who is clearly a major offensive weapon – he sniped a beautiful PP goal which I had a perfect viewing angle on – a NHL shot worthy of DCat and made several outstanding plays to set up others or get himself a look – he was dangerous whenever he had the puck
    and it seemed to me London would have been better off using his skill to their advantage rather than try to hide his perceived defensive deficiencies and overplaying Bouchard who while also very good was no better at defending than Boquist and not the same creative offensive generator and although he has a good shot it’s not as impressive as Boquist’s

    Entwistle also went to one knee to make a huge shot block when the score was 4-3 in the third with London pressing – I don’t think anyone else the whole game went down to block a shot

    Boquist is gonna be a player in the NHL I feel very confident in saying that – probably not next year at least not at the start but he has NHL skills so that’s exciting

    Entwistle can also play an NHL role IMO – he skates pretty well, has size and does all the little things in the corners, going to the net, shot blocking penalty killing etc. – he’s probably a year away as well from a bottom 6 role

    Once they both fill out their bodies I think they’ll both play for the Hawks – they’re both smart heady players who fill their roles very well

    One more thing – the game was excellently played by both teams – there were fewer turnovers between the two teams combined for the whole game than the Hawks typically make in one period – really an entertaining well played game

    Just another reminder that the Hawks need to up their collective hockey IQ for next year

    Game 7 Tuesday night in London

  5. Good read Wrap, hard not to like Cozens.
    Hunter with another year should make Boqvist alot better defensively.

  6. Wrap, thanks for the London/Guelph game summary. Bouchard is definitely “the man” and not undeserved because he’s a pretty good player … but, I’m very happy the Hawks got Boqvist over Bouchard. The goal he scored yesterday gave him 10 goals in 10 games which leads the OHL in the playoffs. Not bad for a 1st year d-man.

    That summary on Cozens was written by the guy who goes by “wiz” on another message board and he’s very high on Cozens. Wiz has been doing draft analysis for many many years and doesn’t always get everything right (who does?) but more times than not has an accurate read on prospects.

  7. @ER yep I’m familiar with Wiz’s draft analyses and think he’s usually more accurate than most

    Him and Craig Button I trust the most and they both have the same top 4 Hughes, Kakko, Pod and Cozens in that order

    Until I’m persuaded differently (not that it matters what I think) Cozens should be the Hawks pick at #3 factoring in the uncertainty around Pod’s intentions and as Button said Cozens is “no consolation prize” – he’s legit high end

  8. Good report Wrap. For me what it highlights is that while Boqvist may potentially become an offensive genius, he is quite a ways from being an-all situations player which to me is what is needed in a number one defenseman. From that standpoint, and especially given the pool is thinner on the left side, Byram has to get heavy consideration and I think he will. If we did go with Byram it would make sense to move prospects or even Gus to make room, but that can be done.

  9. Wrap i like the idea for 1-2 punch this summer of drafting Cozens and sign Nelson, move Anisimov. Gives you future top center a big winger going forward who can play center if needed next season. Also you get get some needed size , with skill. Couple of years you could have
    20 19 88
    12 17 nelson
    Kurashev Cozens Kubalik or ?
    91 64 Entwistle

  10. Iirc wiz was high on Mark Mcneill too. That didnt turn out so well. Lol

    Saying that i do like Cozens but you just never know, right?

  11. @Loags and Button has admitted he missed on ranking DCat who he feels he should have had ranked much higher which is why you now see 5′ 6″ Cole Caufield ranked quite high by Button – top 10 or 15 I think

    Everyone misses as we all know but I’d consider the opinions of Button and Wiz over many others including Cory Pronman

  12. @Ian I like the idea of UFA Nelson as well

    Having also been wondering if the Hawks might try to pry Kadri from Toronto to fill the Bolland role and if Kadri’s recent shenanigans might make that easier and cheaper to pull off

  13. Lots of good posts. You can see after posting enough posts about each guy everybody pretty much agrees on Cozens or Byram. The more top 6 skill players we talk about the more sure it feels to pick on of these two.

  14. LOAGS, one thing about wiz is that he admits when he missed on a player – and they all do. He like Podkolzin a lot so it’s not like he thinks Cozens is slam dunk better than the rest. He also rates a couple Swede d-men above Byram because he thinks Byram isn’t as good at making reads in the d-zone. His expectations for Byram is that he will be more of a top-4 d-man at best – not a top-pairing guy. That seems to be in stark contrast to some other prospect analysts but it’s his opinion. His top rated d-man is Broberg whereas most mock drafts have Broberg going in the middle of the 1st round.

  15. EB thats what the early season rankings were saying about Broberg and Bryam pretty much. Broverg about 5th and Bryam 8 to 10 th early on.

    Wrap not sure that a guy expected to play a key role who now 2 years in a row is putting his team in a hole with a dumb/selfish suspension is a good fit. Has the talent but baggage too.

  16. The play by Kadri yesterday soured me on him. He had some cheap shot plays before but I thought maybe he got better at playing within the rules but that was bush league and made even worse when he turtled rather than pay the price. I was advocating getting him recently but that changed my mind.

  17. On Kadri – I like to think that the leadership group and championship pedigree in CHI would keep Kadri focussed on hockey

    Personally I think he could flourish in CHI – if the Leafs are sour on Kadri because of the last 2 playoff years and are cap-strung as they will be and have a ready 3C replacement in Nylander perhaps the ask on Kadri is low – somebody has to go in TOR if not Kadri then Kapanen or Jonsson likely

    A strong pitch for Kadri (who is 30 and would fit right in age wide with T and K but maybe not the Leafs) might convince TOR especially after last night to jettison him

    All just speculation but I still like Kadri’s potential if he were to come to CHI despite the suspensions

  18. I’ve been pining for Kapanen for months now – try to figure out a way to weasel him away from Toronto’s cap problem. But, the more I see Toronto play, the more I like Johnsson. I would be very happy finding a way to weasel Johnsson away from Toronto’s cap problem. Either one would be good with me.

    Draft Cozens.
    Acquire either Johnsson or Kapanen via offer sheet or trade.
    Sign UFA D-man Ben Chiarot.
    Make big improvement defensively with Training Camp.
    Make playoffs.
    Continue rebuild next summer.

  19. Kadri soured on me as well. Those guys never learn.

    Im almost certain tho Toronto decided last night that they will be trading him this summer.

    Buyer beware.

  20. We’ll probably get some depth scoring in Dominik Kubalik this fall. Looks like he will sign after World Championships.

    Im guessing Kubalik will get one of those type of contracts that Kahun and Panarin received where they could could return overseas if they dont make the club.

    Not sure why LA wasnt willing to do that. Oh well. Their loss, our gain.

  21. I think Toronto would ideally prefer to get rid Marleau’s final year. Nylander got paid and totally crapped the bed.

    Dach reminds me of Strome. Not that Strome is bad. But he could go either way. Of the 3 profiled I like Cozens the best.

    Cozens, Byram, Turcotte, Podkolzin, Dach

  22. Forgot to mention from last night’s junior game that Boquist plays the left side and Bouchard the right as a pairing even though they’re both righties – that’s interesting for the Hawks if he gets comfortable on the left side

  23. Reading this summary on Dach, it has solidified, for me, that Cozens is the pick at #3. He can start at 3C. Is he with Kahun and Saad? Dach is a solid choice, but Cozens is a step better, and at #3…that’s enough.
    FA, minors, and trades can shore up the D and the 4th line.
    Yes, I still want Brandon Lemieux.

  24. Still think Dach is the sleeper number 3 pick. But I will let Mark Kelley decide???
    And sorry, but if anyone is watching the playoffs, pick any game, say Vegas vs San Jose, or Jets vs St. Louis, Blue Jackets vs Bolts, how can you even imagine Kahun on the roster next year. Forget it! And forget Sikura!!! Please, let’s get serious.
    Example: Once again, Tampa Bay too smallish up front with Johnson, Palat, Guorde, Point, Kucherov, who if course are light years ahead of Sikura and Kahun, talent wise! Hawks need size and speed combined. I hope Bowman and his pro scouts are watching and learning! And do you think Strome, especially if he does not get bigger, stronger and faster can compete in a playoff situation in the west?

  25. Ernie, in the Cozens thread I said that because of Strome, I do not think the Hawks will pick Dach. They are too much alike (although Dach will be the better player) and you don’t want speed to be an issue for such a high pick. If Pod does not intend to come over right away, I would go with Cozens.

    Turcotte and Zegras have been moving up the board. Both are committed to colleges next season. Not good for us, unless this would only be for their freshman year. Turcotte came back from a major hip injuring and played lights out hockey. However, they may scare away some teams.

    That said, if the Hawks decide against taking Pod and rate Cozens, Turcotte, and Dach about equal, they should offer #3 to BUF for their 7 and 26. Pod will likely be taken before #7 and Byram certainly will. I doubt BUF would take it, but if they are targeting one or two of players they believe will not be there at 7, it just may be possible.

  26. Original, wouldn’t assume Turcotte be rated ahead of Peyton Krebs either, he is another small to average skilled center too who may be in picture too.

  27. Original-you and I can have a fun bet-I pick Strome as the better (at the end) than Dach. I feel confident of that. Kinda the same person as far as skills-but Strome is a hockey junkie and will keep getting better in small ways.
    (But it dies add to the decision to go with Cozens over him)

  28. Noonan, hope you are right about Strome. The problem is more his lack of quickness than speed. He gets faked out a lot by opposing players and reacts too slowly. He just turned 22, so there should be more upside. He certainly will get a little stronger, which will help him win puck battles and forechecking.

  29. I like the size and the position, but LOAGS seems to have an inside view. And he is not a 3rd ranked pick. No.

  30. Updating this comment thread w/ this from today (May 31) at the Combine:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *