Trade rumors have started to swirl now that the Chicago Blackhawks‘ offseason has started. The one player who has been the object of such rumors the past week is Kirby Dach. Most teams aren’t usually willing to part with a former third-overall pick (2019), yet, the Blackhawks are in a predicament where all bets are off, and anyone can be moved in a rebuild. In Dach’s case, two teams may push to acquire him. Here’s a look at the media speculation.
Dach to the Bruins?
Kevin Dupont of the Boston Globe published an article less than two weeks ago detailing players that the Bruins need to acquire to help change their roster. He suggested that they could offer forward Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Brandon Carlo in a package deal to acquire Dach.
Dupont’s reasoning is that because DeBrusk and Carlo are both established, 25-year-old players, they could entice a general manager to move on from a young, legit center. “Dach projects as a No. 1, and yes, it’s debatable if he has shown enough yet (59 points in 152 games) for the Bruins to consider parting with DeBrusk and Carlo — a top-six forward and top-four defenseman, respectively,” Dupont argued. “However, it offers an example of the kind of discussion Sweeney could have right now for a high-end young center that he otherwise would have zero chance of landing. It takes assets to acquire assets” (from ‘Early playoff exit means Bruins may need to be bold in rebuilding roster, especially up front,’ Boston Globe, 05/21/2022).
DeBrusk and Carlo are assets that could fit nicely with the Blackhawks. DeBrusk requested a trade in 2021, and the Bruins signed him to a two-year, $8 million extension in March, hoping a contract would make him easier to move at the deadline. Although that never happened, DeBrusk could provide an offensive spark for Chicago. He finished the season with 25 goals, 17 assists, 42 points, and was a plus-6 in 77 games. He accomplished this while playing on the first line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and his 42 points would make him fifth on the Blackhawks in scoring.
Carlo finished the season with 6 goals, 9 assists, and a plus-2 rating in 79 games. He has a cap hit of $4.1 million for the next five years. The issue here is that the Blackhawks have 14 defensemen signed. Unless they have a grand plan to reconstruct their blue line, I don’t know if acquiring another blueliner is on their radar.
Related: Blackhawks Fans Shouldn’t Panic Over Kirby Dach’s Development
I like the players offered in the package, but I don’t think the Blackhawks would consider it enough for Dach. They’re likely also looking for draft picks and top prospects in return, and the Bruins don’t have many draft picks, with six in the 2022 NHL Draft and none in the first round. Also, their prospect pool is ranked 27th in the NHL, and they don’t have a prospect listed in the top-50. DeBrusk and Carlo are a good start, but they would have to add some serious draft capital to make it realistic.
Dach to the Canadiens?
The Montreal Canadiens are the second team to enter the mix. Montreal Hockey Now added to the report from the Boston Globe with their own spin on a Canadiens’ trade for Dach. Montreal is also a rebuilding team that finished last this season. Like the Blackhawks, they’re looking for assets to help steer their team in the right direction, and the report suggested a trade that includes the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, a roster player like Mike Hoffman, Josh Anderson, or Jeff Petry, and a top prospect for Dach.
The first thing that stands out about this deal is the first overall pick, as the Blackhawks don’t have a first-round draft pick until 2023, and they need one this year. General manager Kyle Davidson was asked about acquiring the pick, to which he responded, “Being where we’re at in our trajectory, that’s where the talent is found. That’s where we need to bring players in at. So, it’s definitely something we’ll look at. Whether that’s a possibility is a different question, but it’s something I’m definitely interested in.”
Davidson is right to think that way, as it’s hard to aid a rebuild without a first-round pick, and wherever you can find one is worth exploring. This package is also similar to the one the Blackhawks received from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Brandon Hagel: two first-round picks and two roster players (Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh).
Hoffman signed a three-year, $13.5 million contract with the Canadiens in July 2021. His 82-game average during his nine-year career is 27 goals, but he was unable to live up to the production this season as his goals were his lowest in seven years. He had a rough season with his stat line being 15 goals, 20 assists, 35 points, and a minus-24 in 67 games. He might need a change of scenery to get back to his old form as a solid, top-six forward.
Anderson was a depth forward who became a revelation for the Habs in 2020-21, especially during their playoff run. However, he has only scored more than 20 goals once in his career, during the 2018-19 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 25-year-old carries a cap hit of $5.5 million for the next five years. Last season, his stats were 19 goals and 32 points, and he was a minus-25 in 69 games. But, I like Anderson and what he brings to a team as he is a big body at 6-foot-3 and can provide depth scoring.
Related: Canadiens Can Expedite Rebuild by Moving Up From Late 1st-Round Pick
Finally, Jeff Petry faced criticism last season as his numbers hit a five-year low. He finished with 6 goals and 27 points and was a minus-11 in 68 games. He is known for being an elite, two-way defenseman who put up 40-plus points in three straight seasons from 2018 to 2021. He is 34 years old with a $6.25 million cap hit for the next three seasons. He reportedly asked the team for a trade back in December, so the Canadiens could be diligently looking for a trade partner. All three of these players have substantial cap hits for what they provide, which might be too tough for Davidson to swallow. But to get that first-round pick, the Blackhawks may have to take on salary, and they are now in a position to do so with over $20 million in cap space.
I’m not crazy about any scenario where the Blackhawks have to take on that much money because they will have to re-sign players like Alex DeBrincat, as he is eligible for a contract extension in July. But if that’s what it takes to get the pick, then it’s justified. If the Blackhawks were to receive this trade package offer, I would choose Hoffman, who could fit in nicely alongside Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Moving Dach Won’t Come Easy
Proposing trade packages for players you know already have one foot out the door is one thing, but a player like Dach makes it difficult. The Blackhawks drafted him to be the cornerstone of the team’s future, and moving him would have to take a lot of convincing. He struggled this year with 26 points in 70 games with a 32.8% faceoff percentage, but Davidson and the Hawks still have a lot of faith in him and his abilities and will look to re-sign him.
However, an offer like the one rumored from the Canadiens would be worth considering because of the value alone. You have to listen if a team is getting offered a first-round pick. Although moving Dach looks very unlikely, it’s not impossible. As they say, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire in the NHL. It’s something to think about. But keep in mind that these are hypotheticals; you can expect to see Dach in a Blackhawks sweater come training camp until proven otherwise.
Just a small town girl with Midwestern charm; combined with a love of dogs, writing, frappuccinos, Chicago-isms, sports, and a whole lot of Blackhawks hockey. Twitter: @brooke_lofo.