Now that the dust has settled from the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, Blackhawks fans are waking up to the reality that Kirby Dach is a member of the organization (which we were the only outlet to predict).
What did the Blackhawks get in Dach? If you read our preview piece or anything since the pick was made you know they added a big, playmaking center. Comparisons range everywhere from Ryan Getzlaf to Mark Scheifele to Ryan Johansen – any of which would be a huge upgrade to a Hawks system that lacked size at the forward position.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 22, 2019
Dach is immediately the best forward in the Blackhawks system. He adds size and playmaking ability at the center position the Blackhawks simply do not have in any other prospect. He joins an organization that had drafted centers of a certain size – roughly 6-feet tall and 180-190 pounds – over the past four years.
However, the Blackhawks have added some size at the center position by trade over the past 12 months. Dylan Strome won’t turn 23 until March 7 and, at 6-3 and 200 pounds, is bigger than any prospect in the Hawks system before they selected Dach. Strome had 51 points in 58 games after he was acquired from Arizona for Nick Schmaltz last year.
MacKenzie Entwistle (6-3, 181) was also acquired from Arizona; he was the key piece in the deal that sent Marian Hossa’s contract to the Coyotes. With Strome, Dach and Entwistle in the mix the Blackhawks have some good young size now.
Two other centers who were drafted recently, Evan Barratt and Jake Wise, will be back in the NCAA ranks this season but are worthy of attention. Barratt dominated the Big Ten at Penn State last year and emerged as one of the better forwards in college hockey; Wise was a highly regarded prospect until injuries slowed him down in his draft year and he was limited again in his freshman year at Boston University last year. Both could be in the mix for an NHL roster spot in the next few years.
Recent Draft Choices
Acquired: 1st round – 3rd overall – 2019 NHL Draft
2018-19: Saskatoon Blades (WHL) – 62 gm, 25 g, 48 a, 73 pts
Acquired: 3rd round – 69th overall – 2018 NHL Draft
2018-19: Boston University (NCAA) – 12 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points
Acquired: 4th round – 120th overall – 2018 NHL Draft
2018-19: Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) – 59 gm, 29 g, 36 a, 65 pts
Acquired: 5th round – 139th overall – 2018 NHL Draft
2018-19: Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) – 42 gm, 19 g, 28 a, 47 pts
Acquired: 3rd round – 90th overall – 2017 NHL Draft
2018-19: Penn State (NCAA) – 32 gm, 16 g, 27 a, 43 pts
Acquired: 4th round – 116th overall – 2016 NHL Draft
2018-19: Rockford (AHL) – 46 gm, 2 g, 4 a, 6 pts
Free Agent / Trade Acquisitions
Acquired: via trade from Arizona
Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) – 29 gm, 15 g, 12 a, 27 pts
Guelph Storm (OHL) – 28 gm, 15 g, 15 a, 30 pts
OHL Season Totals: 57 gm, 30 g, 27 a, 57 pts
Acquired: signed as free agent
2018: Rockford (AHL) – 12 gm, 3 g, 6 a, 9 pts