5th ranked U24 Habs player - Kirby Dach

Kirby Dach was solid in 2022-23 and expectations were high for this season, but a freak injury derailed his season before he could gain any traction.
Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins
Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

For the month of May, aside from the NHL Draft lottery, there isn’t much going on. So here at A Winning Habit, I’ve decided to rank the 24 best Canadiens under 24 years old. I opted to rank players that are closest to the NHL, so aside from David Reinbacher, there are no 2023 Draftees. 

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead with the 5th best player, in my opinion, Kirby Dach.

Kirby Dach was one of Kent Hughes's first big acquisitions for the Canadiens, beefing up the Habs centre core, which troubled former general manager Marc Bergevin for the majority of his Habs tenure. Dach struggled to produce and perform how the Chicago Blackhawks had expected him to when they selected him third overall in 2019. Injury trouble was another wrinkle in a problematic start to his hockey career.

The former disgruntled Blackhawks forward has many traits that a team sought out for a top-six centre. He is big, skates well and has great vision, which pairs well with his affinity to rush the puck up ice. He loves to drive the puck through the neutral zone and his deft puck skills allow him to weave through the opposition.

Since joining the Canadiens, Dach has managed to suit up for just 60 games altogether, in that span he has managed 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points. It is a concern that he hasn't been able to stay healthy for much of his career, but the injury he suffered against Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi was a freak accident. With a clean slate next season and the Canadiens looking to take a big step forward, Dach's importance to the Habs centre core increases.

I expect with a pair of solid wingers, Dach should have a big season in store for the Canadiens faithful. Hughes hasn't been shy about his wishes to add to the forward core and, while the top line will likely remain intact, the second line is a different story. Thankfully for Dach, that presumably means he will have a new winger to play with, alongside Alex Newhook or Kirby Dach.

It's tough to gauge the pace that Dach will score at and there will be a little rust to break through to start the season. But I believe if he can stay healthy, he will end up being one of the Habs' most important forwards. That is why I have him ranked as the fifth-best Canadiens U24 player, although next year is his last year of eligibility, he will likely stay cemented in the top five.