The Montreal Canadiens having Kirby Dach developing at centre for a long stretch presents the club with several potential benefits.
Dach being slid down to the middle has caught the attention of many across the league, as his success during this second stint as a pivot for the Canadiens could go a long way in influencing their organizational strategy in the next few months.
Trial By Fire
General Manager Kent Hughes and EVP Jeff Gorton have both gone on record that they view Dach as a centre long-term, and that his acquisition this summer was made so they could mould him into their top-six centre of the future behind Suzuki.
Head Coach Martin St-Louis is on the same page and explained that, most of what didn’t work with Dach’s game at centre in the past, outside of faceoffs, was confidence.
According to St-Louis, Dach’s lack of confidence is now a thing of the past.
“He just has to continue to play the same game. That he’s a winger or a centre, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like he starts a shift on the wing and then stays on the wing all game,” said St-Louis on what he’s expecting from Kirby Dach at centre. “I think his game is in a good place. I think he’s confident and I think that alone will get him to help another line.
For Dach, it’s now simply a question of taking what he’s gained playing on the top line and bringing it to his game at the centre of a scoring line.
By developing the youngster at centre, the Canadiens would be ensuring the long-term viability of the centre ice position moving forward, which would be a major win for the organization this season.
That being said, developing Dach as a centre isn’t the only benefit to moving him off the top line.
The Montreal Canadiens also need a boost in terms of offensive production, as Suzuki and Caufield have been the biggest offensive contributors so far this season. The Canadiens desperately need some secondary scoring as it stands and having Dach run a 2nd line could help them further spread out the talent and provide the Canadiens with more results.
By bolstering their strength down the middle by shifting Dach down, the talent is better distributed at a position of crucial importance for any hockey team, and could act as the offensive jolt that they need to get back to scoring goals with more regularity.
Showcase On The Top Line
While Dach holds the fort down on the 2nd line, it allows the Canadiens to place another veteran on the top line with Caufield and Suzuki.
Lately, it’s been Josh Anderson who has seen some extended time on the top line, but perhaps a Mike Hoffman or Jonathan Drouin, both of whom have picked up their game of late, could also benefit from a stint with the club’s top offensive players.
With Hughes looking to prop up the value of his expendable veterans prior to his prospects making the jump to pro this spring and summer, putting them in the best situation to thrive becomes a win-win situation for the Montreal Canadiens.