The Blackhawks signed 2019 first-round draft pick Kirby Dach to a three-year entry-level contract with a $925,000 salary cap hit Monday.
Dach was selected third overall in last month’s NHL draft after scoring 73 points (25 goals, 48 assists) for the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL. He finished among the top four in all three offensive categories for the Blades and won 41 percent of his faceoffs. The hulking 6-foot-4, 198-pounder was one of the main reasons why the Blades returned to the WHL playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Dach finished the playoffs with eight points (five goals, three assists) in 10 games.
The early signing falls in line with the Blackhawks did last year with No. 8 overall pick Adam Boqvist, who signed July 1, to have an immediate hands-on approach with his development. Dach is the fourth first-round pick from this year’s draft to sign, joining left winger Nolan Foote (Lightning, No. 27), defensemen Philip Broberg (Oilers, No. 8) and Victor Soderstrom (Coyotes, No. 11).
Dach has said he intends to make it a tough decision on the management group to send him back to the WHL and not have him play all of next season in the NHL. He can play up to nine NHL games next season before burning a year on his contract. He could also play fewer than nine NHL games then be sent to the WHL and play in the AHL once his WHL season is over.