Expectations for Kirby Dach in 2024-2025

To put it lightly, Kirby Dach's 2023-2024 season was the ultimate disappointment.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Montreal Canadiens
Columbus Blue Jackets v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens season has come to an end and focus now shifts to the 2024 NHL Draft and then Free Agency, but there is definite excitement for next year's lineup.

One player in particular who will be as excited to get on the ice; as fans will be to see him grace the Bell Centre ice is Kirby Dach. Dach's injury trouble continued after his 2022-23 season was cut short, he was ready to hit the ground running in year two with the Habs. Unfortunately, a quick interaction between Dach, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi and the bench took the wind out of his sails in just the second game of the season.

Despite being limited to 58 games the prior season, Dach had the best production of his young career. The Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta native recorded 14-24-38, which was personal bests across the board. So to say expectations for this season were high, wouldn't quite explain it well enough.

A one-two punch of Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach down the middle would have given the Habs pretty solid centre depth in the top six. Even more so, having Sean Monahan as insurance would have given the two young centers a veteran to lean on. It didn't work out that way obviously, but Dach must be fired up for next year.

With the way that the final game of the season went down, it wouldn't be crazy to think that he is excited about the team also. Lane Hutson assisted Juraj Slafkovsky's 20th goal of the season, which showed the potential of the Habs' young talent. Dach knows what he is capable of and he saw Alex Newhook play a great season and all the growth, he must be champing at the bit to rejoin his teammates on the ice.

Equally, it's rather quite intriguing to think about what kind of numbers we should expect out of the 6-foot-4 centre. There is no doubt that he has very high potential, but just how high it is is relatively unknown, because he hasn't been able to showcase it. But when he does get that chance, I would have to think that with his tools, he should be able to put up 55-60 points minimum.

When the power play was struggling, I could picture Dach carrying the puck into the attacking zone and turning on a dime to dish the puck with a defender on his back. The Habs wouldn't have simply been a contender with Dach in the lineup, but there is reason to believe that he would have increased the offensive output. I think that he has 25-30 goal potential without a doubt and his skill set is unlike any other player on the team.

Dach can play with pace and his reach allows him to be disruptive on the backcheck, but likewise as difficult to defend because of his natural gifts. He has surprising skills for a big player, much like Juraj Slafkovsky, they do things that you wouldn't necessarily expect. I am a big fan of the top line and I agree if it isn't broken, don't fix it, but I would like to see Dach and Slafkovsky together for a few shifts.

77 with 20 is just one of many things to look forward to next season, but I am most interested in seeing what kind of numbers Dach will produce and who his linemates will be.