CHICAGO – Kirby Dach is officially staying in Chicago.
The third overall pick from June’s draft has played in six NHL games since making his Blackhawks debut just 10 days ago, with a goal and an assist to his name while averaging just shy of 12 minutes of ice time per game. He’s showcased a growing comfort level with the pace of play at the NHL level and shown enough to be designated a full-time NHLer, at least in the eyes of Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman and head coach Jeremy Colliton.
“Stan and I sat with him yesterday and told him he’s going to be here,” Colliton told the media after practice Wednesday in California. “He’s played well. He’s shown he can help us and he’s only going to get better. I think the player he is now, there’s likely going to be a huge improvement as the year goes on and the player (he is) in February I’m sure is going to be an impact player for us.”
The Blackhawks had the option to send Dach back to his junior team, the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, as long as Dach played nine or fewer games this season, in turn delaying the start of his entry-level contract for a year. After six games, Chicago has seen enough to forego their remaining three-game trial run.
The 18-year-old has said from almost the moment he was drafted that he wanted to prove he belonged in the NHL this season.
“It’s thrilling and exciting for me,” Dach said after it became official. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life. I came into camp wanting to make this team and to finally get that recognition from Jeremy and the management group is awesome and I’m thrilled to be here.”