The Blackhawks signed first-round draft pick Kirby Dach to a three-year entry-level contract, the team announced Monday.
Dach likely will receive performance-based bonuses, like other top NHL draft picks. His contract carries the maximum salary cap hit of $925,000.
The deal is set to run through the 2021-22 season if he makes the NHL in the fall, which isn’t considered likely. If Dach returns to the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades for another season or plays fewer than 10 NHL games this coming season, his contract will “slide” — meaning it’ll simply be pushed back a season, with terms remaining the same.
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman made it clear at Dach’s introductory news conference June 24 that he’s seen as a long-term projection rather than a short-term fit.
“When you look at the game that Kirby brings to Chicago, he’s got a little bit of everything,” Bowman said. “He’s got the skill to play with the high-skill players. He can make plays that can wow you. He’s also got the competitiveness to show that he wants it more than anyone else. We’ve got a special player here and, as you’ll see, we’re excited for what’s to come.”
The Hawks selected Dach, 18, a big, reliable Canadian center, with the No. 3 overall pick. He was a bit of a surprise choice after most reports had the team focused on Alex Turcotte and Bowen Byram in the lead-up to draft night.
“One area where I need to add is a little bit more size,” Dach said. “The other thing I need to learn is just the pace of play. I don’t understand what that’s going to be like until I get there and play with those guys and practice with them.”