NHL Draft | Canadian sacrifices Alexander Romanov to acquire Kirby Dach

The path to recovery is not linear, let alone predictable. Canadian fans have been hearing about this for a few months. A new lesson has just been added to the manual.

Updated at 12:49 AM

Simon Olivier Lorange

Simon Olivier Lorange
The press

The Habs shook Bell Center — and the entire NHL — by completing two large transactions in quick succession Thursday night. The club first traded defenseman Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick for a first-round pick, 13, to the New York Islanderse in total. The CH passed this choice on immediately, with a third-round selection (66e overall) against the Chicago Blackhawks against forward Kirby Dach.

We’ll come back to Romanov later because the key to these staff moves is certainly roof. This 21-year-old center player is inevitably expected to be a barrage of questions around town. Let’s start with this: Did general manager Kent Hughes just take over the player so dominant in the junior ranks that he was drafted third overall in the 2019 draft? Or the one who still hasn’t established himself as a regular offensive player after 150 games in the NHL?

Hughes obviously cannot guarantee anything. But his expectations are logically based on the first version of Dach. The one that had earned him the captaincy of Team Canada for the 2021 World Juniors before an injury robbed him of the tournament and most of the following season. The one who also brings speed and weight – he has yet to gain some – to his centerline.

However, there will be work. After a modest rookie season that ended with some nice playoff blitzes, Dach’s 2020-21 wrist injury slowed him down. Although he wanted to get back on his feet in 2021-2022, things didn’t go at all as he had hoped.

difficulties

Overall, the Blackhawks have had a disastrous season. However, that hasn’t stopped some of their young strikers like Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Hagel or Dylan Strome from showing good offensive campaigns. The roof, on the other hand, has declined. In five-a-side, he struggled to create chances, despite often sharing the ice with DeBrincat or Patrick Kane. His performance on the face-off circle was mediocre (32.8%). And its use when outnumbered was unsuccessful.

All of these elements forced the Canadian to do his homework before finalizing the deal with the Hawks. General manager Kyle Davidson called for an election in the top 15 in return. Not only did you have to find it – it happened and it cost Romanov – you also had to justify the high price.

“We took the time to understand where he was,” Hughes explained at the end of Thursday night. Understand what happened, why Chicago was willing to let it go. We wanted to get to know the player and the person. We even asked Justin Barron, who was with him at Team Canada Junior Camp, for his opinion.

In the end, we agreed to bet on the growth potential of this young, 1.80m middle player… as well as the benefits of a change of scenery.

We invest in development to enable players to reach their full potential. By surrounding him, by framing him, we think we can make him a pretty special player.

KentHughes

Quebecois Jimmy Waite has been the Chicago Blackhawks’ goalie coach since 2014 and has witnessed Dachs’ development first hand.

He doubts the Albertan will become an 80-point producer, but by adding muscle to his physique – he weighs just under 200lbs – Waite believes Dach “has still room to develop and he’ll be very physical.” Rather, he sees a potential of fifty points per year.

If he also improves his shot, “he can become a force in the NHL.”

Quit Romanov

However, there was a price to pay to win a player in this category. In this case, it resulted in the loss of Alexander Romanov for the Canadian.


PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Alexander Romanov

The tie was “very difficult,” admitted Kent Hughes. His progress was one of the few positives of last season with the Canadian.

Hughes would have preferred to relinquish only draft picks, but it became apparent that he would have to sacrifice a player. And the Russian was in demand.

New York Islanders’ Lou Lamoriello smiled with all his teeth, too happy to get his hands on a 22-year-old defenseman who can integrate him above 4 instantly.

The oldest NHL general manager praised his new player’s “unbelievableness” and his high level of competitiveness – in his opinion his most important asset. “We’ve played against him enough to see what he brings. And he still has a lot of room for improvement,” said the manager in a scrum.

His club were looking to fill their bench with young defenders and at the rank the islanders were meant to speak at, he knew his key targets would no longer be available. Giving up his first-round pick for Romanov was “not a difficult decision” in this context.

Conversely, at the Canadiens, we said we were “disappointed” in this sacrifice, although the pill is easier to swallow knowing that the left flank of defense is one of the departments where the next generation is most successful in Montreal , including Kaiden Guhle and Jordan Harris, who will each start their maiden pro seasons this coming October, and Jayden Struble, who could make the leap from the collegiate ranks within a year.

However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Canadian is getting reinforcements in the coming weeks. Because with the departures of Romanov, Ben Chiarot and Brett Kulak since last March, the void in the immediate future is abysmal. After Joel Edmundson and excluding Xavier Ouellet, who doesn’t appear to be in the team’s future plans, Corey Schueneman is the most experienced left-hander in the organization with 24 NHL games.

“We don’t want to put our young defenders in a position they aren’t ready for,” and thereby jeopardize their development, concluded Hughes.

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