When Kent Hughes executed the trade that brought Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens, the sense was that he had potentially found the team’s future second-line centre. There wasn’t much chatter about using him on the wing, but Martin St-Louis recently decided to try it out.
In the process, he may have discovered that Dach is the perfect winger to play with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.
The power play breaks through!— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) November 2, 2022
Kirby Dach feeds Nick Suzuki for the goal! pic.twitter.com/hHuiJ39AKD
Of course, this goal came on the power play, but it is a good sign of some chemistry developing with Dach and his new centre. The Habs have tried everyone from Mike Hoffman to Josh Anderson on the right side of their top line, and while different players have worked to different degrees, none have been able to stick. Dach may have come to the team as a centre, but he just might stick as a winger on their most important line.
From a possession standpoint, they were far and away the best line for the Habs against the Minnesota Wild at even strength. They outshot the Wild 11-3, and their 80.95% Corsi-for was the best of the team’s four trios by a country mile. We’re still in very small sample territory with them as a unit, but the results at least warrant expanding that sample as much as possible.
The one area in which they struggled was generating high-danger scoring chances at even strength, as they generated none but gave up a single chance over nearly 13 minutes. Still, they clocked in at 64.95% expected-goals for, so their dominance in possession and shots tilted the ice in their favour in spite of the scoring chances, or lack thereof.
The high-danger chances should come soon enough. With a pure shooter like Caufield on the other wing, games where they dominate possession but have no high-danger chances should be rather rare. With more time to develop their chemistry, things could really take off for them in the next few weeks.
Keep Dach on that top line, and let’s find out if he’s the answer with Caufield and Suzuki for the long term.