As the Chicago Blackhawks prepare to face the Winnipeg Jets Monday night, interim head coach Derek King addressed a few topics regarding his team. Beyond announcing lineup changes for tonight’s contest, King said moving Kirby Dach from center to wing is “a possibility” when Jonathan Toews returns from concussion protocol.
Dach has endured a frustrating season to date with just 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 45 games. That level of output is far below expectations for a former third overall draft pick. The 21-year-old has been feeling the resulting pressure too, as he deleted social media from his phone in December in an attempt to block out the noise.
Now, a positional adjustment could be in the cards to help improve his game. Dach has been shouldering the responsibilities that come with the center ice position for most of the 2021-22 season. He has struggled mightily at the dot, winning just 33.8% of his faceoffs. While his lines have put together some decent games, consistency is still an issue.
Dach does have one goal and two assists in five games since Jonathan Toews entered concussion protocol on Jan. 28. But before that? He endured an eight-game pointless stretch. The Blackhawks are a top-heavy scoring team and need their top two units to produce consistently. Right now, Kirby Dach simply can’t offer that level of stability from the center position.
So when could Dach potentially move to the wing? That depends on Toews’ status, according to King. The Blackhawks captain has been working out in Chicago, though King is unsure if he’s been skating.
Following tonight’s contest in Winnipeg, the Hawks return to the United Center for three games in four days over the weekend. If Toews rejoins the team during that stretch, keep an eye on where Kirby Dach slots into the lineup.
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