As his players suited up for Tuesday night’s game against the Red Wings, Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson gave young standout Colton Dach glowing remarks.
“He’s got some really good skill to shoot the puck. Hopefully he gets another opportunity to show his stuff. We’ve been impressed with him from day one here for sure.”– Luke Richardson
When Ryan Donato was scratched from the lineup, though, Dach was quickly given that opportunity. As a last-minute add to the lineup, he beat out other skaters competing for those last few spots like Reese Johnson, Mackenzie Entwistle, and Boris Katchouk, working his way into a role on the top line alongside Taylor Hall and Connor Bedard. He was clearly up to the challenge – he logged the most ice time of any Blackhawks forward and was one of the team’s strongest skaters throughout the night.
Dach, who seemed primed to be sent to Rockford any day now, will likely get a longer look over the remainder of the preseason thanks to his stellar play Tuesday night. He showed great patience and skill with the puck and logged three shots on goal. At one point, he even drew a cross-checking penalty without retaliating, showing impressive poise for a 20-year-old.
The Blackhawks’ forward room may be crowded with under a week until the regular season, but Dach has a clear shot at starting the season with the big club. The team got some bad news at Tuesday’s morning skate when Philipp Kurashev suffered a wrist injury that’s expected to sideline him for at least a week – making it uncertain as to whether he’ll make it back for the start of the regular season. If he misses any time, Dach may be best suited to take over the role, at least temporarily.
Dach clearly has the support of his head coach as he attempts to make the team:
“Physical, engaged on the bench, engaged on the ice, plays a hard role with some rugged guys, or go out there and play with skilled guys. [He’s] very versatile and very aware, really listening, and any info you that you’ve given him he’s taking it and putting it into his game plan.”– Luke Richardson
But Dach isn’t just being considered for the role because of his maturity and composure. The abilities he’s put on display throughout training camp and preseason have proven he’s ready for the big show. Dach is an elite shooter with great size (6-foot-4) and uses that wingspan well.
Amid a flurry at the bottom of the Blackhawks’ roster, the young prospect’s performance Tuesday night may have catapulted him into the driver’s seat. Though he’s a long way from securing a roster spot, Dach will certainly get an extra look to close out the preseason.