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Kirby Dach’s Impact on the Montreal Canadiens

When asked why the Montreal Canadiens will be a better team next season, General Manager Kent Hughes said it was simple, Kirby Dach will be back. The 23-year-old has been sidelined all season with yet another injury. However, the Canadiens forward will be back and ready for the team to start the 2024-25 season. Hughes said he felt Dach was the team’s best player throughout training camp. But how much will the injury impact Dach, and how will he impact the Canadiens in 2024-25?

Montreal Canadiens Kirby Dach in 2024-25

Impact of the Injury

Kirby Dach experienced an injury in his first season with the Canadiens that held him out for 24 games. Dach has been plagued by injury troubles throughout the entirety of his early career. This continued in 2023-24 as Dach missed the entire season. He suffered a freak knee injury against the Blackhawks in game 2 of the regular season. With so many injuries early in his career, it puts into question Dach’s durability. After missing an entire year, it’s also concerning whether or not Dach can return to the level we saw early on this season. The sky is the limit for Kirby Dach but injuries may limit his potential.

Where Dach will Slot for Montreal Next Season

Once he returns expect Dach to slot into the second-line centre position behind Nick Suzuki. He will also see minutes on the first power play unit. They may ease Dach back in during training camp but once the regular season begins expect Dach to be ramped up and in game shape.

As far as linemates are concerned, there are a lot of options for who could be flanking Dach. He saw chemistry with Juraj Slafkovsky and Alex Newhook early last year. In contrast, the top line of Suzuki, Slafkovsky, and Cole Caufield has looked great this year and it might be difficult to split them up. Alex Newhook has also looked great at centre down the stretch. But assuming the Canadiens don’t acquire another top-six winger they likely shift him to the wing so he can have top-six minutes. The same goes for youngster Joshua Roy who has dominated the AHL and hasn’t looked out of place in the NHL either.  We could see a second line of Roy, Dach, and Newhook to begin the year which is an exciting prospect.

Dach’s Potential in 2024-25

Kirby Dach had a career-high 38 points in only 58 games in 2022-23. He dominated the Canadiens training camp this past year and had two points in his first game before an injury in game 2. He played the majority of the season flanking Suzuki and Caufield in 2022-23. However, the team sees him as a centreman for the future.

Dach will have some solid linemates no matter who they put alongside him and will be given every chance to excel. With that being said, Dach’s potential is only limited by injuries. If he can stay healthy all year his potential is unlimited. As far as points are concerned, a season over 60 points is very realistic for Kirby Dach. If Caufield, Slafkovsky, or a new addition are on his wing, we could see that number be even higher.

Dach’s mixture of high-end skill and his big frame can make him a dominant centreman for the Canadiens. With a duo of Suzuki and Dach down the middle the team is set for years to come. It’s unclear who he will be playing with but a Slafkovsky and Dach duo down low would be near-impossible to contain. With all this being said, if he is healthy next season, expect a massive breakout season.

Main photo: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports





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