When the Montréal Canadiens traded Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders for the 13th overall pick on the first night of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the expectation on the draft floor was that Montréal would add a center with the pick to balance their first overall selection of Juraj Slafkovský. At No. 13, a few high-upside pivots were projected to be available, like Frank Nazar and Noah Östlund, but none of them had the potential to fill a top-nine role on the team next season.
Enter Kirby Dach, the third overall pick in the 2019 draft.
By sending the pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 21-year-old, the Canadiens potentially filled both an immediate and future need at center in one sweep.
Dach played mostly in the middle-six of Chicago, last season, with players of varying caliber depending on the game and the time of the year. He showed he could hold his own down the middle, putting up good defensive performances even against some of the league’s best elements in certain games.