Canadiens sign Dach to 4-year deal with $3.36M AAV

Posted: 07/09/2022 in NHL
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The Montreal Canadiens and restricted free-agent center Kirby Dach agreed to a four-year contract with an average annual value of $3.36 million on Wednesday.

Dach will still be a restricted free agent once his new pact expires.

The Habs acquired Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks in a three-way trade during the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft in July.

Montreal sent defenseman Alexander Romanov and the 98th overall pick to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 13th overall selection. The Canadiens then flipped the 13th and 66th overall picks to the Blackhawks.

The 21-year-old, who the Blackhawks selected third overall in the 2019 draft, has yet to make his mark in the NHL. Dach suited up for a career-high 70 games in 2021-22, mustering nine goals and 17 assists while averaging just over 18 minutes of ice time per contest. Dach also struggled in the faceoff circle – he won just 32.8% of his draws this past season.

All in all, Dach has logged 19 goals and 40 assists in 152 career contests, all with the Blackhawks.

The Alberta native said joining the Canadiens is a bit of a “restart” for his game after an underwhelming three seasons in Chicago.

“I’ve talked to (head coach Martin St. Louis) a few times about just coming here and playing with an open mind,” Dach said during a press conference Wednesday. “Just being ready when camp starts and kind of prove myself and enjoy the game of hockey again. Play some good games and see where it takes me.”

General manager Kent Hughes is hoping a change of scenery will be just what Dach needs to get on the right track.

“There’s no such thing as being 100% certain in this business, but we believe he’s got a lot of potential,” Hughes said. “We believe in this environment, with our group, with our coach, with our development group, and the character of the locker room that this is a better environment for Kirby Dach. … We’re prepared to bet on it.”

Injuries have sidetracked Dach’s young career: He broke his wrist while serving as Team Canada’s captain at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship and was only able to suit up for 18 NHL games during the shortened 2020-21 campaign.

The move put the Canadiens around $10.2 million over the cap, according to CapFriendly. However, Hughes confirmed Wednesday that the Habs have placed injured goaltender Carey Price on offseason long-term injured reserve, bringing them right under the salary cap, TSN’s John Lu reports.

Hughes said the Habs are inching closer to getting a deal done with goaltender Cayden Primeau, the team’s sole remaining restricted free agent.

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