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Where Blackhawks prospect Kirby Dach could play during the 2019-20 season

Chicago’s newest prospect isn’t eligible to play in the AHL at the start of next season.

2019 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Blackhawks are planning for Kirby Dach to play a huge part in their future.

With five viable options available at No. 3 in the 2019 NHL draft, the Blackhawks selected Dach because they believe he was the best player available and a game-changer for the franchise. The Blackhawks project him to be a No. 1 center.

But he’s not there, yet. He’s only 18 years old and like any prospect isn’t close to reaching his ceiling. He racked up 73 points (25 goals, 48 assists) in 62 games to finish among the team’s top four skaters in all three offensive categories and won 41 percent of his faceoffs. He was one of the main reasons why the Blades ended their playoff drought as he finished the playoffs with eight points (five goals, three assists) in 10 games.

What’s next for Dach?

The 6-foot-4, 198-pound center will compete for a NHL roster spot this fall, and if he’s signed to an entry-level contract, and makes the team out of camp he can play less than 10 NHL games then be re-assigned to the WHL and have his contract slide to next season.

Players drafted and playing for CHL teams, like Dach, are ineligible to play in professional minor leagues (AHL or ECHL) until they’re 20 years old by Dec. 31 of that year or have completed four years in major juniors, according to the CHL-NHL agreement.

Dach doesn’t meet the requirements to be AHL eligible, but he could join the Rockford IceHogs after his WHL season ends like any other CHL player once they sign an ELC or amateur tryout agreement. The Oilers’ 2018 first-round defenseman Evan Bouchard did this last season when he had one goal in seven NHL games before being re-assigned to the London Knights in the OHL. After the Knights were eliminated in the OHL playoffs by Guelph, Bouchard joined AHL Bakersfield where he scored eight points (three goals, five assists) in eight Calder Cup playoffs games.

If Dach plays in the WHL next season, the Blackhawks will look for him to continue to play heavy minutes against the opposition’s top players and be more consistent throughout the season at both ends of the ice to be able dominate as one of the league’s top players.