OTTAWA | Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach changed addresses on the same day. At 24 and 21, they were supposed to represent the future of the Chicago Blackhawks, but Kyle Davidson didn’t have the same vision.
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Davidson, the young general manager, added a story or two to the Hawks’ rebuild by selling DeBrincat to the Senators and Dach to the Canadiens on July 7, the night of the first round of drafting at Bell Center.
Alex DeBrincat, ex-teammate
In DeBrincat, the Senators have acquired one of the NHL’s top scorers, while Dach will be looking to build his own reputation with the CH.
As the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, Dach has yet to live up to expectations. Hours before a preseason game between CH and the Senators, DeBrincat spoke about his teammate from the past three seasons in Chicago.
In the eyes of the diminutive right winger, there’s no doubt that Dach has what it takes to succeed in the NHL.
“He’s got all the skills in the world,” DeBrincat said. Kirby is also a big center and he’s not afraid to use his body. He has so much talent, he can cause a lot of offense. I can’t wait to see him play this year. I think he’ll get his chance in Montreal. »
DeBrincat wasn’t just throwing words in the air. Last year, the Michigan-born winger played five-a-side with a roof for just under 343 minutes in Chicago. Of all Hawks forwards, only Patrick Kane (725 mins) and Dylan Strome (566 mins) have spent more time on the icy surface next to Dach.
Captain Jonathan Toews argued a few days ago that Dach didn’t get a real chance in Chicago.
Without making such a strong statement, the Senators player also went in the same direction.
“Kirby’s still super young,” DeBrincat said. He was unlucky with the Hawks. He broke his wrist and has been out for almost a year. »
“Sometimes you need a change of scenery,” he continued. I wish him to play well with the Canadian and show what kind of player he is. I’ve seen him practice with the Hawks every day and I know he’s got talent. He also wants to be one of the best players on the ice. »
In his final season in Chicago, DeBrincat scored 41 goals and had 78 points. The 5-foot-7, 165-pound winger hit the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career.
Dach was far from DeBrincat’s numbers with 26 points (9 goals, 17 assists) in 70 games.
“I’m looking forward to the new beginning,” Dach said during the first days of the camp. I want to establish myself as a good center in the NHL, a responsible player at 200 feet. I will also have the chance to play for a good coach with Marty [Martin St-Louis], a guy who shaped the history of the league. »
Kent Hughes also showed his confidence in him by signing him to a four-year, $13.45 million ($3.362 million a year average) deal two months after the acquisition.
In Montreal, Dach will feel the pressure of a trade that cost defenseman Alexander Romanov, but he will no longer be responsible for replacing big names like Toews and Kane with the Blackhawks.
“It wasn’t too difficult to juggle expectations in Chicago, I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” Dach said. It didn’t work out for me with the Hawks and now I want to take my chance with the Canadiens. »