After finishing his rookie year with purpose, using the NHL pause to get stronger and enhance his game for a noticeable 2020 postseason showing, Blackhawks center Kirby Dach is going to have to wait considerable time to take that next step in his NHL career.
Dach, 19, was poised to have a big showing in 2020-21 after recording six points (one goal, five assists) in the Hawks' nine playoff games in the bubble.
His sophomore season was put on hold after Chicago's center of the future had surgery to repair a right wrist fracture on Monday with a recovery time slated for four to five months, likely the entire 2020-21 season.
Dach, who was named captain of Team Canada for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, suffered the injury on Dec. 23 in the exhibition opener of world juniors after he collided with a Russian player at center ice.
"Obviously I went back and watched it a couple times. It was kind of a fluke thing. I really thought my stick broke because of the sound it made, then I looked down at my hand and it didn't feel the best and it definitely didn't look right. So obviously I headed off there and got the doctors involved pretty quickly and they were able to stabilize it," the Hawks forward told TSN's James Duthie on Tuesday, one day after his surgery.
Shortly after suffering the injury, Dach was forced to accept that he wouldn't be able to play on the tournament's big stage any longer or serve as Canada's captain, a big honor.
"You don't want to think about that, you kind of just want to be like, 'Hey, let's fix this and get back out there in the moment, but once you kind of take a step back and realize what's really going on, that dream kind of quickly fades away and you're not able to compete anymore," Dach said.