One of the last of the restricted free agents is off the board.
The Montreal Canadiens have signed RFA centre and prized offseason acquisition Kirby Dach to a four-year contract worth $13.45 million. The deal includes an average annual value of $3.36 million for the fourth-year forward exiting his entry level deal.
The former third overall pick, Dach was acquired on the draft floor from the Chicago Blackhawks for the Nos. 13 and 66 selections overall. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes acquired the first-round pick needed to land the scoring centre by sending defenseman Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders.
All told it took three draft picks to land the 21-year-old.
Dach is coming off a disappointing season with the Blackhawks and a relatively underwhelming tour through his entry-level phase. A wrist injury suffered at the 2021 World Junior Championship prior to the pandemic-shortened NHL season seemed to disrupt much of his progress through the first chapter of his career.
He finished with 19 goals and 40 points in 152 games with Chicago.
Kirby Dach, signed 4x$3.4M by MTL, is a young playmaking centre who has struggled to take the next step. So far, doesn't shoot much and doesn't score when he does. Decent transition player and nice hands but struggles to create sustained possession and offence. #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/pKYzy5CXKz
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) September 7, 2022
Dach slides in fairly low on the earning chart for the Canadiens with eight other forwards slated to take in more money this upcoming season. That, however, may not be necessarily reflected in terms of role, as Dach has been earmarked for the No. 2 centre role behind Nick Suzuki.
If Dach catches on in the top six with Montreal, he could conceivably reach a level where he's severely underpaid before his contract expires. The Canadiens clearly believe in his talent, having invested a high-value selection on the draft floor and following it up with a four-year commitment, though it isn't without risk that Dach fails to catch on in an elevated scoring role.
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