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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Good And Bad News Situation With Dach’s Return



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens announced forward Kirby Dach returned to practice on Tuesday morning.

Dach, 22, earned 35 points in 54 games prior to the injury that kept him out of the lineup since Feb.14.

His return is important for several reasons, most of which are positive.

Game Changer

Dach ranks first on the team among forwards who have played 300 minutes or more at 5v5 in the following categories:

  • Shots on net share (CF%)
  • Shot share (SF%)
  • Expected Goals For (xGF%)

He’s also among the top 5 players when it comes to goal share (GF%), high-danger shot share (HDCF%), and high-danger goal share (HDGF%).

Suffice it to say, he’s been one of the best forwards on the roster if not the best forward in the lineup.

And his impact goes beyond his own numbers.

Take Nick Suzuki, for example.

Dach is expected to play alongside the Canadiens captain in his first game back, which will take place against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

When Suzuki plays with Dach, his underlying numbers are fantastic. He controls 51.3 percent of the shots, 50.3 percent of the expected goals, and 51.1 percent of the high-danger chances.

Without Dach, Suzuki’s numbers drop significantly. He controls just 41.9 percent of the shots, 37.7 percent of the expected goals, and 34.4 percent of the high-danger chances.

In other words, his numbers drop to well below replacement when he was kept away from Dach.

You can repeat the experiment with almost every single member of the Canadiens organization. Dach doesn’t just improve their numbers, he launches them into the stratosphere of respectability, which is quite a feat on a bottom-feeder team.

Simply put, whichever line features Dach tends to be the best line on any given night.

Game Style

There are very few players on the Canadiens roster that have the ability to drive the play in the same way as Dach. Whether he plays down the middle or on the wing, Dach provides the same game-changing impact.

And it’s no surprise why.

He’s fantastic in transition, which doesn’t just lower the pressure on his linemates, it also allows them to take advantage of the time and space he creates with his controlled exits and controlled entries.

Remember, a controlled entry into the offensive zone is twice as likely to result in a quality scoring chance or a goal.

Lottery Considerations

We can also safely say having Dach in the lineup does not help the Montreal Canadiens’ 2023 Draft Lottery Odds.

With Dach in the lineup, the Canadiens see a two percent bump in shot share, expected goal share, and high-danger scoring chance share, which is rather impressive given he has only played 54 games this season, and we’re dealing with a very high sample size across the board.

Of course, we can’t fault Dach for making a positive impact.

That’s exactly why the Canadiens acquired him in the first place, but he’s one of only a handful of players on the roster that can complicate things down the stretch.

Especially now that the Canadiens no longer own the most difficult strength of schedule in the league, an extra point or two in the final 12 games could be the difference between picking fourth or sixth overall.

All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted. Via NaturalStatTrick.

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