Kirby Dach signed a four-year, $13.45 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. The deal will net him an average of $3.3625 million per season.
The 21-year-old forward was a restricted free agent. He had NHL career-high goals (9), assists (17) and points (26) in 70 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season. He was acquired by the Blackhawks on July 7 in exchange for the 13th overall pick (Frank Nazar) and 66th pick (Gavin Hayes) of the last draft. The Canadians had to do without the defender Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders to get their hands on the 13th overall before sending him to the Blackhawks.
“Coming here is almost like a fresh start for me,” said Dach. My three years in Chicago were full of ups and downs, whether they were things I had control over or not, but I’m in a good place here. I have confidence in my abilities.
“It was fun to go on the ice with some players today. What I remember best about coming here is that I need to play more freely and be creative. I have to use my instincts and trust myself on the net to get more shots. […] I want to put the last three years behind me and focus on the positive from now on. »
Drafted by Chicago in 2019 third overall, Dach has 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) in 152 regular-season games and six points (one goal, five assists) in nine Stanley Cup playoff games.
“If we had offered him a two-year contract, that’s for sure [son salaire annuel] would have been lower, however [son salaire annuel] after that it might have been higher,” explained Kent Hughes, general manager of Canadiens. “Since Kirby won’t be a free agent (unrestricted) for another five years, we figured four years would give Kirby time to become more comfortable in our group. At the same time, with four years, we have a number that works for us below the salary cap.
“We trust Kirby Dach primarily as a person, but also because of his potential,” continued Hughes. There is no certainty in hockey, but we have a lot of potential. We believe that with our roster, our coach and our dedicated player development staff, this will be a better environment for Kirby Dach. In this environment we have high hopes that he can achieve great things with the organization of the Montreal Canadiens. »
Montreal missed the playoffs last season after reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2021. 27th), clean sheets (317; 32nd), power play efficiency (13.7 percent; 31st) and shorthanded (75.6 percent; 27th).
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Martin St-Louis was hired to replace Dominique Ducharme despite having no professional coaching experience. The Canadiens went 14-19-4 under St-Louis, who signed a three-year contract June 1.
“When Kent and I spoke (after the trade), I was going through a lot of emotions, but I was very excited,” Dach said. As the dust settled I saw the attacking group they have and the direction they were going when “Marty” took over. They played well and became freer offensively. It was exciting for me to come here and I think my playstyle will fit in well here. »
Now that Badger’s case is settled, the Canadians have only one restricted free agent to sign, 23-year-old goaltender Cayden Primeau.
“I spoke to his agent this morning and I think we’re getting closer to an agreement,” Hughes said. I wish it was today but I expect it to be fixed soon. »
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