An interesting name has recently emerged in NHL trade rumours and if the rumours are true, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes should be ringing up Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson ASAP. …if he hasn’t already.
In his latest Sunday Hockey Notes for the Boston Globe, hall of fame puck scribe Kevin Paul Dupont opined that the Boston Bruins should look into what it would take to pry restricted free agent centre Kirby Dach from the Blackhawks on the NHL trade market. With the more than likely scenario that Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron will retire and after losing David Krejci last offseason, the Bruins don’t have anyone on their current roster that could be their No.1 centre next season. Furthermore, there aren’t any hopefuls in the pipeline to fill that important role in the near or distant future. Sound familiar Canadiens fans?
“The Blackhawks, for example, need proven roster parts and they are desperate for a change in fan narrative after their disgraceful bungling of the Kyle Beach case. As of this writing, they have yet to come to terms on a contract extension for 21-year-old Kirby Dach, the 6-foot-4-inch, 200-pound pivot chosen No. 3 in the 2019 draft (behind center Jack Hughes and winger Kaapo Kakko).
Dach projects as a No. 1, and yes, it’s debatable if he has shown enough yet (59 points in 152 games) for the Bruins to consider parting with DeBrusk and Carlo — a top-six forward and top-four defenseman, respectively. However, it offers an example of the kind of discussion Sweeney could have right now for a high-end young center that he otherwise would have zero chance of landing. It takes assets to acquire assets.”
Like the Bruins, the Canadiens are looking to rebuild their NHL roster up the middle. The best NHL Betting Odds say that the Canadiens will draft top NHL Draft prospect Shane Wright with the top pick overall at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on July 7 in Montreal. If they do draft Wright and deem him ready for the NHL, he will definitely help the strengthen the center position. After signing an entry-level contract earlier this month, top Canadiens prospect Riley Kidney will also be given a chance at training camp to make the NHL roster. However, is the Canadiens’ NHL roster really that deep up the middle as currently constituted and could they not use Dach’s size and skill?
The Canadiens finished the season with Nick Suzuki as their top line centre and then had Jake Evans at 2C, Christian Dvorak in the 3C slot and Ryan Poehling in the 4C slot. There’s been chatter in NHL trade rumours and amongst some NHL scouts to Montreal Hockey Now that the Canadiens are trying to move Dvorak, who has three years left on a contract that carries a $4.4 million cap hit. The urgency to move Dvorak now results from the fact that he has a modified no-trade clause in the final two seasons of that contract. If the Canadiens were able to do that, would Dach not slot in better at the 2C slot behind Suzuki, with any combination of Evans, Poehling, Wright and maybe even Kidney not strengthen the Canadiens up the middle now and in the future?
While the Canadiens don’t necessarily have a trade package equal to DeBrusk and Carlo that they could offer for Dach, they do have something to offer on the NHL trade market that the Bruins and Blackhawks currently don’t have heading into the 2022 NHL Draft: A first round pick.
If the Canadiens could entice the Blackhawks with the 29th pick overall, a roster player (Mike Hoffman? Josh Anderson? Jeff Petry) and top prospect, could they pry Dach off the NHL trade market?