Colton Dach will play in the WHL this season, but it won’t be for the Saskatoon Blades.
The 18-year-old forward will play for the Kelowna Rockets, who acquired him from the Blades for forward Trevor Wong on Wednesday.
Dach scored 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 20 games this past season before the Chicago Blackhawks selected him in the second round (No. 62 overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft. He scored 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) in 82 games during two seasons for the Blades.
Saskatoon president and general manager Colin Priestner said in a release that Dach’s representative requested a trade from Saskatoon the day after the NHL draft.
“We remained patient in our discussions on Colton’s future, and were not going to agree on a trade until we received an equal or better player of the same age coming back to our club,” Priestner said. “Trevor is certainly that level of player.”
Former Blades head coach Mitch Love’s departure from Saskatoon to coach the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate could have played a factor into Dach’s decision.
Dach will play under Kris Mallette, who will enter his second season as Kelowna’s head coach after seven seasons as an assistant.
“Colton is going to bring some things to our team that are going to be important to us, he shoots the puck well,” Kelowna president and general manager Bruce Hamilton said in a release. “He’s going to mature a lot as a player here now that he has an NHL training camp under his belt. We’re going to expect him to come in here and have a leadership role with our group in the near future.”
Dach is the younger brother of Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach, who played for the Blades from 2016-19 before being selected third overall by Chicago in 2019. Both Dach brothers are participating in the Blackhawks’ training camp in Chicago.
The younger Dach will be joined in the WHL this season by two other members of the Blackhawks’ 2021 class: Prince Albert defenseman Nolan Allan (first round) and Edmonton forward Jaylen Luypen (seventh).