While it took a little longer than many would have expected, the Habs have signed their key offseason acquisition, announcing on Wednesday that they’ve inked Kirby Dach to a four-year contract. The deal carries a cap hit of $3.3625 million and breaks down as follows:
Dach will have one year of RFA eligibility left at the end of this deal and Montreal’s required qualifying offer will be $4 million and unlike this summer, he will be able to file for salary arbitration.
The 21-year-old was acquired at the draft in exchange for what worked out to be Alexander Romanov plus picks in the third and fourth rounds back in July.
Dach was the third-overall pick back in 2019 and immediately made the jump to the NHL. However, he has yet to become the impact centre that Chicago envisioned which led to the Blackhawks deciding to move on from him even though a 21-year-old high draft pick is usually one of the centrepieces of a rebuild.
Last season, Dach set new career-highs in goals (9), assists (17), and points (26) despite missing a dozen games due to injury. For his three-year career, he has tallied just 19 goals in 152 games while also missing most of his sophomore year with a wrist injury. The fact he only played in 18 games in 2020-21 is why he will still be RFA-eligible in 2026.
Clearly, the Canadiens are taking a leap of faith with Dach, who hasn’t been able to live up to his draft stock yet while also struggling mightily at the faceoff dot. That’s not a great combination for what they hope will be an impact middleman but GM Kent Hughes and the Habs believe they can help him get to his potential. Now signed for the next four seasons, they’ll have plenty of time to get him there.
To make room for Dach’s contract, the Habs will place Carey Price on offseason LTIR later today before officially registering the contract.