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Selected second overall in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Kirby Dach emerged as a dominant player this season. He put up 25 goals and 73 points in 62 games for the Saskatoon Blades. Dach’s strong play has led the Blades to second place in the WHL East Division, finally moving forward on the team’s long rebuild. He also put up three goals and two assists in the Blades four-game sweep of their provincial rivals from Moose Jaw in the first round of the WHL playoffs.
Dach represented Canada at last summer’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He put up two goals and five assists for seven points in just five games, helping his team to the gold medal. He also played for Canada Black at last year’s Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, picking up seven points in that five-game tournament. His younger brother Colton was also drafted by Saskatoon and is expected to join the Blades in the fall.
Kirby Dach Scouting Report
Center — shoots Right
Born January 21st, 2001 — St. Albert, Alberta
Height 6’4″ — Weight 198 lbs [193 cm/90 kg]
Dach is an impressive skater for his size but will never be known as a burner. He has good top-end speed but his first few steps and his acceleration can use some improvement. He also has very good agility and edgework for his size, allowing him to weave in and out of traffic. His stride is long and powerful and he is very tough to knock off the puck. Dach has excellent balance and this should only improve as he continues to add muscle to his frame going forward. This allows him to fight through checks, control the puck down low, and win battles along the boards.
At 6-foot-4 Dach has the size to be a powerful centre. Dach takes the puck to the net and is more likely to go through a defender than to try and make a deke to get around him. He is very tough to contain on the cycle, as he protects the puck well and this allows him to extend plays down low and wait for a teammate to get open or for an opposing defender to get out of position. Dach has very good vision and passing skills. He finds open teammates and sets them up for scoring chances in tight.
Dach also has a decent wrist shot and release. This season he started using that shot more and it is leading to goals and opening up defences, making his playmaking skill even more deadly. While he is still a pass first player, the improved willingness to shoot has made a difference in his game. He is very intelligent and reads the play very well. Dach almost always makes the right play with the puck on his stick. This allows him to be the main focal point of the power play, controlling the play on the boards and setting up teammates for scoring chances.
Dach is also willing to use his body in his own end of the ice. He supports the defence with effective back pressure and works to win battles along the boards and keep the front of the net clear. While he is not a big hitter, he is willing to use his size to his advantage, leaning on opponents to win battles, and using his long reach and active stick to cut down passing lanes. He can be used in all situations, including going against the other team’s best players and killing penalties. Dach is strong in the faceoff circle as well.
Projection and Comparison
Dach is close to being NHL ready but might be best off with one more year of junior hockey. There are some improvements that can still be made in terms of adding muscle to his frame, cleaning up his first step and acceleration, and continuing to have confidence in his shot. Those flaws are minor though and should easily be fixed as he matures. Dach could grow to become a top-line NHL centre. His game is reminiscent of Ryan Getzlaf but this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Kirby Dach that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
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