Dash thrives for the Canadiens and heads into the game against the former team

“I think it’s a combination of everything,” he said.

That points to adapting well to the Montreal Canadiens, to whom he was traded by the Chicago Blackhawks on July 7, and then getting comfortable playing right wing, a longtime change of center, with the left wing. Cole Cofield and the center Nick Suzuki.

“Cole is a shooter, but he also makes a lot of great plays; Nick is very responsible defensively, he understands the game and he thinks it’s very good,” said Deutch. “At the same time, he’s scoring goals now. He’s making really smart plays and the combination of our three skill sets and the way we see the ice and think about the game, it just matches perfectly.”

Dash, who has 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 20 games, will look to continue building on his season in a familiar setting when the Canadiens play the Blackhawks at the United Center in Chicago on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, RDS). , TSN2, ESPN+, SN NOW).

“It’s where I bought my first home, I bought my first car, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart,” he said. “It would be nice to see some of the players and coaching staff. It would be nice to finish it off too, but at the end of the day it’s definitely marked on my calendar and I’m looking forward to it.”

The 21-year-old was picked third overall by the Blackhawks in the 2019 NHL Draft and seems on track to be their next higher position, especially when he had six points (one goal, five assists) in nine playoff games in the 2019- 20. He had 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) in 152 regular season games with Chicago, forming a young center forward with Alex DeBrinkat And the Brandon Hagel.

But Hagel was traded to the Tampa Bay Lighting before the 2022 NHL trade deadline, and when the Blackhawks went into full rebuilding mode last season, Dach was sent to Montreal the same day DeBrincat was traded to the Ottawa Senators.

Chicago striker Patrick Kane He said he watched Dach find his niche in Montreal.

“I know he’s had some success there with Suzuki and Caufield, so you know, he has a lot of potential if you put him with the right guys,” Kane said. “He’s young, the more experience he has the better. Glad to see him doing well and playing a big part there.

“I’ve always liked pushing with him, too. He’s a big, strong middle man (6-foot-4, 212 lbs) who plays both ends of the rink, he can play fast in the middle, he can play the ball. I’d be a good player for the long haul in the league.”

Dash is nine points behind No. 26 in the National League (nine goals and 17 assists), which he scored in 70 games with the Blackhawks last season. In Chicago, Dach was playing up and down the lineup, including the third line, where the focus was more on checking the score. In Montreal, he had a career-best six chances that helped him produce.

Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis was immediately impressed by what he saw in the Dash.

“First, if you give up on a 21-year-old, whether it’s hockey or anything, you probably don’t have a lot of patience,” he said. “You also don’t have the full picture, or what I call a ‘growth mindset.’ Twenty-one is very young.

“Kirby was the third overall pick in three years. So what I saw was a third overall pick, with all his skills, his size, his reach.”

Dash said one of the reasons he got along with the Canadians right away is because they’re young, too. Suzuki is 23 years old, a defensive guy Jordan Harris He is 22 years old, Caufield and Defensman Arber Xhekaj Every 21 man is a defender Cayden ignorance He is 20 y George Slavkowskithe No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft is 18.

“It’s a younger group, so it’s easier to fit in and get along and hang out with the guys, just based on the age groups, right?” He said. “I feel like when I came to Chicago it was just me and (defender Adam) Bokvist and (forward Alex) Nylander were the three guys there, and I come here, I feel like everyone is 25 or younger. It’s good to grow with the group and to fit in.” together and have fun.”

Dash feels at home, off the ice and on the top line with the Canadiens (10-9-1), who were 22-49-11 last season and didn’t get their ninth victory until their 43rd game.

Those who saw him up close his first few seasons in the NHL weren’t surprised to rally for him.

“I think you give a kid like him at his level of talent a chance to play in an offensive position, give him a little bit of a leash to get out there and make mistakes and see what works, figure out what doesn’t work, figure out your brain. As much as you allow yourself to play freely and be creative and let your talent take over,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews He said. “He was going to put on plays at the end.”

NHL.com freelance reporter Sean Farrell and LNH.com Managing Editor Sebastien Dechambault contributed to this report.