Kirby Dach is expected to be out 4-5 months after the Chicago Blackhawks forward had surgery on his right wrist Monday.
Dach was playing for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship and collided with Russia forward Ilya Safonov in the neutral zone with 12:06 remaining in the third period of a pretournament game at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Dec. 23. Dach immediately took the glove off his right hand and skated to the bench before going to the locker room.
The 19-year-old forward, who was named Canada captain Dec. 18, traveled to Chicago on Dec. 24 for further evaluation.
"I'm doing pretty good, actually," Dach told TSN on Tuesday. "I thought it'd be a lot worse. Obviously, I lived with (Blackhawks defenseman) Brent [Seabrook] last year, and he went through a bunch of surgeries, so I was expecting the worst, but it's not too bad."
The Blackhawks begin training camp Jan. 3 and will play their first game Jan. 13 at the Tampa Bay Lightning. If Dach is out for four months from the surgery, he could return April 29, with six games remaining in Chicago's 56-game regular season.
"Kirby was excited to represent Canada and captain our team at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, and our players, coaches and staff are all disappointed he will not be able to participate this year," Hockey Canada senior vice president of national teams Scott Salmond said. "We recognize Kirby's commitment and leadership and know how eager he was for the opportunity to proudly represent his country at the World Juniors. He was dedicated to his role as captain and contributing to defending our gold medal. We wish Kirby the best and hope for a quick recovery as he looks ahead to getting back on the ice with the Blackhawks."
Selected by the Blackhawks with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Dach scored 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 64 regular-season games and six points (one goal, five assists) in nine postseason games last season.
Dach averaged 19:24 of ice time per game in the postseason, fifth on the Blackhawks behind defenseman Duncan Keith (25:27), forward Patrick Kane (22:30) and defensemen Connor Murphy (22:13) and Calvin de Haan (20:32).
"Kirby showed last year he has a real detail to his game and a willingness to play both ways," Blackhawks president of hockey operations/general manager Stan Bowman said Oct. 28. "He's a talented offensive player. He showed it in flashes, but I give him credit for not doing what most young guys do. They want to get those points, so they sort of abandon the defensive side or the hard work down low in their own end to make sure they don't get scored on. He was pretty reliable in that for a 19-year-old player."