great combination of size, strength and puck skills … ‘offence first’ mentality … soft hands… good puck pursuit … quick stick …
The Draft Analyst:
Big-bodied playmaking center with outstanding passing skills and soft hands who is one of the best draft-eligible players at incorporating all his teammates into the attack. Dach has a tremendous wingspan and reach that help him maintain control the puck for lengthy periods inside the offensive zone. He is a confident puck carrier up ice, and you’ll rarely see him advance via direct routes. Dach can create time and space using a variety of methods on zone entries, and he can stutter-step defenders out of position. All these traits force opponents to back away from him, which provides him with the opportunity to unleash a wicked wrist shot. Still, Dach certainly is more of a set-up man than a shooter, and you can make a strong argument that he is the best saucer-passer of any forward prospect.
I’ve been a big Kirby Dach fan for years and I always feel it’s important I put my biases on blast for readers to take into consideration when looking at my evaluation. I, like everyone else, was pretty disappointed when Dach had the midseason lull where he just wasn’t very productive and looked totally disengaged. That’s certainly a red flag but he responded to it with a stretch of his most dominant play in terms of playing style.
Dach’s biggest concerns are his skating and level of engagement. Ultimately, I just don’t think Dach’s skating will keep him from achieving a high level of success in the NHL so while it’s certainly not going to be a strength of his, I don’t view it as a significant downside like some others do. The bigger issue for me is the stretches of play where a player who should be physically dominant simply isn’t. That gets to a player’s core and if he can’t handle that in the WHL, it’s not magically going to appear in the NHL. If that Casper act in the middle of the season was just an anomaly, he’s going to be a whale of a player.
Dach would be a great fit for the Avalanche. The way Carl Soderberg has artfully taken over the 2/3C duties behind Nathan MacKinnon has shown the Avalanche don’t need blazing speed in order to find success. In fact, the contrast in styles might even serve as a built-in advantage as teams look to defend Colorado one way and this random second line comes at them with a totally different personality.
Dach’s skating is overblown enough that I’m just not worried about it. You can make a reasonable argument whether or not Dach is the fourth-best player in this draft and I’m certainly open to the idea he isn’t but his ceiling is high enough that it’s very easy to dream on him fulfilling his potential and Colorado ending up with one of the game’s most prolific 1-2 punches down the middle. Dach would be a fine pick at four with the potential to being a great pick.
Ranked #4 by TSN/McKenzie
Ranked #3 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #7 by HockeyProspects.com