Kirby Dach’s junior career appears to be over.
Dach will remain with the Blackhawks through the 2019-20 NHL season, the team announced Wednesday.
Dach, the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NHL draft, has one goal and an assist in six games with Chicago while averaging 11:59 minutes per game since making his debut earlier this month. The Blackhawks had the option to send the 18-year-old back to his junior team, the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL, as long as he played nine or fewer games this season to delay his entry-level contract starting for another year.
Prior to joining the Blackhawks, the 6-foot-4, 198-pound forward did not record a point in three AHL games during a conditioning stint as he worked his way back from a concussion he suffered in September during the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.
Due to the CHL-NHL agreement, Dach is ineligible to play in the AHL this season beyond a conditioning stint. Chicago, however, can return him to the WHL later this season around World Juniors. The Blackhawks can loan Dach to Team Canada for the World Juniors like they did with Henri Jokiharju for Finland last season.
By remaining in Chicago, Dach is the first Blackhawks player since Patrick Kane in 2007 to make the jump from juniors to the NHL full time in their draft year.
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