Must-Read: How the Blackhawks Helped the Bears Trade the First Overall Pick

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Must-Read: How the Blackhawks Helped the Bears Trade the First Overall Pick

Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks

The “hockey assist” is one of my favorite terms in the sports lexicon.

For those unfamiliar, the “hockey assist” is the pass that leads to a pass that results in a goal. The secondary assist is a beautiful thing. And as it turns out, we saw it play out in literal and figurative ways as the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks lent a helping hand to the NFL’s Chicago Bears in their quest to trade the No. 1 overall pick.

In a must-read piece in The Athletic by Adam Jahns, Kevin Fishbain, and Joseph Person that explores the steps the Bears and Carolina Panthers took before executing their blockbuster trade in March, one anecdote details how the Blackhawks found themselves chipping in for the cause:

Poles needed help — or maybe just some advice from a friend in town. So he called Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson.

“Really, hockey is the only one where you’re trading a combination of picks and players,” Poles said. “So I just was curious.”

He had plenty of questions about how the Blackhawks valued players against picks, how contracts and age played into the equation, etc. Davidson started laughing.

“He’s like, ‘It’s a challenge,’” Poles recalled.

Like the Blackhawks, Poles asked the Bears’ analytics team to work on “wins over expected,” an advanced measurement, to measure the potential impact of a trade acquisition.

So … I guess we should send Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson a “thank you” card. Maybe a gift basket. Poles’ conversation with Davidson leading the Bears analytics team to create a metric quantifying the trade’s impact is different. It is definitely unlike anything we’re used to when it comes to the Bears front office. Is this what the continued modernization of Halas Hall is going to look like? It isn’t just a hands-on approach. And it’s not even an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing. It is beyond that. We knew the Bears would cast a wide net before making this trade. But what we *DIDN’T* know is that the net would reach Hawkeytown

One of the fun things about any journey is that you never know who will aid you along the way. The Bears and Panthers did so much work to get to the point where a trade could happen. But no one would’ve guessed that the Blackhawks would be around to give the Bears an extra lift. After all, the Hawks are doing their own organizational re-boot requiring a ton of heavy lifting. But I guess it takes a village to trade the first pick in the NFL Draft.

The Blackhawks’ roundabout inclusion in the Bears-Panthers trade is just one of many fun factoids unearthed in The Athletic. I encourage you to read the rest over at The Athletic:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.