Chicago Blackhawks first round draft pick Kirby Dach will make his NHL debut on Sunday night as his team takes on the Washington Capitals.
Dach, who has missed the team’s first five games after suffering a concussion during a preseason prospect tournament, was activated from his rehab assignment on Friday night, and will slot into the team’s lineup when they hit the United Center ice on Sunday night.
Dach was the third overall pick in June’s NHL Draft, and the Blackhawks have big hopes for the forward as he will come into a group that has won two games in a row after dropping their first three contests.
According to NHL rules, the Blackhawks can play Dach for up to nine games before having to make a big decision on the forward. If they opt to keep him on the roster after those games, it will officially burn a year of his entry level contract, and he will be eligible for restricted free agency after the 2021-22 season.
If the Blackhawks decide to send him back down to the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, where he’s played the last three seasons, then they would not be able to call him up again this season. They would save a year of his rookie-level contract if they choose to go that route.
Head coach Jeremy Colliton is unsure of where Dach will slot into the lineup on Sunday, but fans can expect to see the forward get some time at both the wing spot and his natural center position. The Blackhawks have some tough decisions to make on which player will sit out so that Dach can slot into the lineup, with David Kampf, Zack Smith, and Brendan Perlini all potentially facing the prospect of a healthy scratch as some lineup changes loom.
The puck will drop between the Blackhawks and Capitals at 6 p.m. Sunday evening.