Kirby Dach is starting to find his groove with the Montreal Canadiens, which comes as no surprise to former teammate Patrick Kane.
Since the calendar flipped to 2023, the third-overall pick from the 2019 NHL Draft has scored seven goals and 12 points in 16 games — including points in five of the Canadiens’ last six.
With the Chicago Blackhawks in town for Tuesday night’s game, Kane was asked what he made of Dach’s recent run of success.
“I’m not surprised. What is he 21? 22? It takes some time sometimes, and he was probably rushed into the league,” the three-time Stanley Cup champion told reporters. “Playing fourth-line minutes, getting sat out games, it’s probably not the best thing for your development.”
Dach, 22, was traded to Montreal from Chicago in the off-season for first and third-round picks in the 2022 NHL Draft.
He had played 152 career NHL games with the Blackhawks, scoring 19 goals and 59 points across three seasons. Now with the Canadiens, he has already posted career highs in goals, assists and points in 53 games with his new team.
“It’s not surprising that all of a sudden he’s starting to play a lot of minutes and playing in a good position and he’s producing,” Kane added about Dach. “Happy for him.”
Tuesday night’s game will be the second time the Canadiens and Blackhawks have faced off this season after Montreal won 3-2 in a shootout — in which Kirby Dach scored the winning goal and let the crowd know it — on Nov. 25.
Another Stanley Cup winner isn’t surprised by Dach’s development in a new situation.
Canadiens’ head coach Martin St. Louis was also asked about the young forward’s season on Tuesday.
“He gradually keeps getting better and better and better,” St. Louis told reporters Tuesday. “I think he’s a confident player, and I think he found his way. I don’t think he exactly knew where he was going to be when he came here … but now you fast forward to how he’s gone about his business and where he’s at — it’s very encouraging.”
As he continues to impress, Dach will look to continue his success of late and to help his new team to victory over his old team for the second time on Tuesday night.