Do you think Kirby Dach will make the NHL next season?
I don’t. And I don’t think he should, unless he comes in and absolutely blows everybody away in training camp. He’s a guy who will very much benefit from more development, I think. It’s unfortunate, in my opinion, that he can’t go to the AHL rather than back to the WHL, but that’s how it goes. I’ve brought it up before, but when you’re talking about these high-end prospects who also happen to be bigger than most of their competition in their draft year, I’m always in favour of more development. Whether they play a physical game or not, they get used to using their size to push around opponents, and that’s not something that’s going to be nearly as easy at the next level. Especially with somebody like Dach, who isn’t a particularly explosive skater. Ideally, playing a season against men in the AHL would help with that, allow him to adjust his game to better work against bigger, stronger opponents, but that’s not possible in this case. So the best bet is sending him back to junior, let him keep playing lots of minutes and let him develop more physically and work on his skating instead. The more time he gets to mature, the less he has to change his game at all. It helps that Chicago doesn’t really need him right now as well. They can afford not to rush him into the line-up, give him a couple seasons to keep improving.