Blackhawks Asking Colton Dach To Be More Complete to Compete for NHL Spot

This is an exciting camp for a lot of the Blackhawks’ top prospects. Some will show they have what it takes to play in the NHL. Others will show the coaches and front office they deserve an entry-level contract at some point in the near future. Some are matriculating their way towards the NHL on a development plan.

Since July 7 of last summer, the development plan for Colton Dach has been in question for some fans. That was the day his older brother, former No. 3 overall pick Kirby, was traded to Montreal. When Colton, a second-round pick in 2021 in his own right, arrived for prospect camp in the summer and again for the prospect showcase games in the fall, it was awkward. There’s no denying that.

But Colton answered the questions and played his tail off. He’s his own player and remains part of the Blackhawks organization.

Unfortunately, last year was a mess with injuries limiting every facet of Dach’s development. He suffered a concussion after scoring on the first shift of the prospect showcase against Minnesota and was off the ice until mid-way through training camp. He went to Kelowna and was named their captain, only to deal with another concussion. And then he suffered the shoulder injury while skating for Canada at the World Juniors.

Even with all of those injuries, Dach presents a unique package to the Blackhawks. As we talked about a lot with his brother, 6-4, 200 pound centers don’t grow on trees. And even though the Blackhawks moved on from Kirby, they still have a plan for Colton.

What Luke Richardson said about Colton’s game at this stage of his career feels familiar. Indeed, it sounds a lot like what he and the front office said about Lukas Reichel a year ago when he was getting ready for his age-20 season in Rockford.

“I thought he was excellent in the rookie tournament, the two games,” Richardson said Friday afternoon. “He’s brought that confidence right into here. He looks very confident. He’s not afraid to ask questions to the coaching staff, which is great. It’s a great for a young player to do that. I know his brother has played here and also in the NHL. I’m sure he’s given him some good advice to be ready for this and take one more step.”

That’s the good stuff. The pumping of the tires, if you will. He’s a good player who asks a lot of questions and has a lot of skill. But what are the areas where Colton needs to work to make the next step up in his journey to the NHL?

“I think he has to learn to play physical, play big, but also use his skills for some offensive plays and defensive plays,” Richardson added. “He’s got to be a 200-foot player. Especially a young playing in this league, you really got to be thinking about that. You can’t think about ‘I didn’t get any points.’ I think your play will dictate that you can get more opportunity. That’s 200 feet. If a coach can trust a player like that, young guy coming in, he’ll get more opportunity to put the puck in the net. He can really shoot the puck, so we’d probably like to see him shoot that puck a little more.”

With Dach working mostly at center thus far in training camp, there’s a huge opportunity for him to show that he can be a power forward for the organization. We’ve talked plenty about the lack if height with the Blackhawks’ center depth as an organization, so Dach being able to stick at the dot with his size would be a huge bonus.

But, as was the case with Reichel, the organization is going to ask him to be a more complete hockey player. The skill is there, and the early signs are that Colton heard what the coaches and front office have said about him needing to be more physical and he’s responded to that with good play in Minnesota in the prospect showcase games.

written by

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab

more blackhawks news

Blackhawks Finally Using, Benefitting From Rockford IceHogs

For nearly a decade, Rockford was -- in the eyes of many -- where the Blackhawks' non-prospects went to play professional hockey. That perception was largely shaped by young players being rushed to the NHL and, in the cases of...

Dickinson Appreciation, Crevier’s Steady Start, Waiver Madness, Kane’s Detroit Debut, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

I'd like to take a moment to appreciate the role Jason Dickinson is playing for the Blackhawks this season. With a teenager learning the NHL as the top-line center and the other two line centers being a rotating mess thus...

Blackhawks 1, Ducks 0 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

The first period didn't give us either of two things: the photo opp opening puck drop between Connor Bedard and Leo Carlsson, or a goal. The Blackhawks did have two power plays in the first period and were credited with...

Blackhawks vs Ducks – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

If you were one of those who spent more than $2 million on Blackhawks' tickets after Chicago won the draft lottery, tonight might have been one of the games you circled. The Anaheim Ducks owned the second overall selection in...

There’s About to Be a Whole New Way to Watch Blackhawks Games

This should be fun! On Wednesday afternoon, Blackhawks' rightsholder NBC Sports Chicago announced they're going to offer a supplemental second viewing experience for fans like the "ManningCast" on Monday Night Football, with a dedicated camera solely focused on select Blackhawks...

1 vs. 2, Tinordi Out, Söderblom Struggles, Good Crowds, Kane’s Detroit Debut, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Tonight should be the first time the top two overall picks from the 2023 NHL Draft, one of the most hyped in history, face each other. Leo Carlsson, the No. 2 pick, and the Anaheim Ducks are in Chicago to...

Defensemen Communicating More Might Be the Key to Unlock the Blackhawks’ Offense

Earlier today I talked about a comment from Seth Jones after the loss to Nashville that got my attention. The Blackhawks coaches are desperately trying to get more offense started from the back end right now. I think this deserves...

Jones’ Conflicting Thoughts, Shootout Order, Drafting in Vegas, Dach’s Success, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Seth Jones had a strong game last night by his standards in the box score. After producing eight assists and being minus-seven in the first 23 games of the season, Jones had his first multi-point effort of the season and...

Blackhawks 3, Predators 4 (SO) — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

After the morning skate on Tuesday, head coach Luke Richardson talked about his defensemen being more active and getting the puck towards -- if not on -- the net more frequently. The Blackhawks desperately needed to get off to a...

Blackhawks vs Predators – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Well, the morning skate had a couple surprises for us with the Nashville Predators in town. After being a healthy scratch in Minnesota to close the road trip, Lukas Reichel returns to the lineup -- on the fourth line. Head...

Latest News

Dallas Goedert Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Cowboys, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert will take on the fifth-ranked passing defense of the Dallas Cowboys (181.1 yards conceded per game) in Week 14, at 8:20 PM ET on Sunday.When setting your fantasy football lineup this week, is Goedert...

Joshua Dobbs Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Raiders, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has a matchup versus the 13th-ranked passing defense in the league (216.8 yards allowed per game) in Week 14, when his Minnesota Vikings take on the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday at 4:05 PM ET.When setting your fantasy...

Josh Reynolds Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Bears, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Detroit Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds will take on the 25th-ranked pass defense of the Chicago Bears (239.5 yards conceded per game) in Week 14, at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday.Is Reynolds' game versus the Bears this week a good...

Derek Carr Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Panthers, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Quarterback Derek Carr has a matchup against the fourth-ranked passing defense in the NFL (180.8 yards conceded per game) in Week 14, when his New Orleans Saints meet the Carolina Panthers, Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.With his upcoming game versus...

Allen Lazard Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Texans, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Allen Lazard and the New York Jets will face the Houston Texans and their 26th-ranked passing defense (245.2 yards allowed per game) in Week 14, on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.With his upcoming matchup against the Texans this week, should...

Noah Brown Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Jets, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Wideout Noah Brown has a matchup versus the third-ranked pass defense in the NFL (176.6 yards conceded per game) in Week 14, when his Houston Texans take on the New York Jets, Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.When setting your fantasy...

Jonnu Smith Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Buccaneers, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Tight end Jonnu Smith has a matchup versus the 28th-ranked pass defense in the league (257.9 yards conceded per game) in Week 14, when his Atlanta Falcons meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.Is Smith's game versus...

Dalvin Cook Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Texans, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Dalvin Cook and the New York Jets will meet the Houston Texans and their ninth-ranked run defense (97 yards conceded per game) in Week 14, on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET.With his upcoming tilt against the Texans this week, should...

Dak Prescott Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. Eagles, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Quarterback Dak Prescott faces a matchup versus the 29th-ranked pass defense in the NFL (260.3 yards allowed per game) in Week 14, when his Dallas Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday at 8:20 PM ET.With his upcoming tilt versus...

Zach Charbonnet Fantasy Week 14: Projections vs. 49ers, Points and Stats, Start or Sit

Running back Zach Charbonnet has a matchup against the top-ranked run defense in the league (79 yards conceded per game) in Week 14, when his Seattle Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday at 4:05 PM ET.Is Charbonnet's game versus...

more blackhawks news