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Kirby Dach: Kent Hughes has given him a special mission for next season
Credit: Nov 9, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Kirby Dach (77) throws a foam puck to fans after the win against the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Almost 48 hours after the Montreal Canadiens golf tournament, I think we’d covered everything we needed to. But on a day as busy as this, there’s sometimes information that goes unnoticed at first glance.

As you know, it’s with this event that the CH season, in the broadest sense of the term, gets underway. At this point, everything is still looking good, and with the team still undefeated, everyone is very confident. But that doesn’t stop certain messages being passed between the branches.

Yesterday, Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes made it official that a letter of nobility would be affixed to Mike Matheson’s jersey. But Hughes also took the opportunity to let Kirby Dach know that he might be next in line for the title of assistant captain.

That’s my reading at least.

In an article by Arpon Basu of The Athletic, we learn that the general manager spoke with his surprise acquisition from the 2022 draft and, in a way, gave him a special assignment.

“I’m sure you have expectations on an individual level. But we also need to grow as a team. I want you to take your first three years in Chicago and the one in Montreal and think about the players who helped you along the way […]” – Kent Hughes

My reading, and that of the journalist, is that Hughes wants the young man to take charge, not just of his career, but also of the team’s success. Read here: he wants leadership from his young forward.

Exactly two weeks ago, I told you about Nick Suzuki and how he was looking forward to Sean Monahan’s return. That, in his opinion, Monahan would be an excellent source of leadership and would, in a way, compensate for the departure of Joel Edmundson.

But the Habs aren’t quite a mature team, and young players are by far the majority in the line-up. So leadership doesn’t have to come exclusively from veterans. At the very least, guys who would be considered rookies on other teams in Montreal have to put on the veteran hat, even if it doesn’t suit them perfectly.

Kent Hughes therefore targeted Dach and saw in him a guy who could become a leader despite his young age.

He asked him to realize that he is, despite being only 22, something of a veteran here and that he needs to act accordingly. He’s convinced that his performances on the ice will be up to scratch, but that he can do a bit more.

I can’t wait to see how the Albertan integrates this mission from his boss. Will he crash or spread his wings even wider?

Dach has leadership in him. As proof, he was captain of the Canadian team at the Under-20 World Championship in 2020-2021 (which he didn’t play in due to a serious wrist injury).

In any case, I get the impression that Hughes’ message got through to Dach:

“It’s always nice and comforting to hear from the GM or coaches when they want you to take that extra step to become a leader and help the guys.” – Kirby Dach


– To be continued in the coming days.

– A special formula for the next World Cup?

– A return from injury will be good for the Alouettes.

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