We’re in a spot with Hockey in Chicago where things could be worse, yes.
Things could also get better rather quickly. The short and long term futures just need to be navigated properly. To do that, the Blackhawks need a GM. We know there have been seven names brought in to be interviewed for the GM position with the Blackhawks, six from outside of the organization with interim GM Kyle Davidson also being considered while he is currently running the show.
But what does that entail for Davidson, as we are four weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline? Is he allowed to be making calls to other teams about potential trades if he is not going to be hired as the permanent GM? Does he have the authority in the middle of the hiring process to pull the trigger on a Marc-André Fleury or Brandon Hagel trade? I cannot imagine this search continues much longer with the clock winding down on NHL trade season and the Blackhawks still holding all of their trade pieces in their hands.
• Speaking of a Brandon Hagel trade, the rumors have been swirling around the 23-year-old and he has heard them all. While it can be distracting to some, Hagel finds the asking price coming from the Blackhawks (first-round pick, top prospects, plus more) as a compliment to him.
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 22, 2022
• Interim head coach Derek King has coached Hagel in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs and in the NHL with Chicago. Hagel has made King’s job easier at both levels. No wonder he is a fan.
“Hags has got to stay here. That’s just me. You’ve got to do what’s right for the organization, what’s right for the team, but Hagel is a big part of this organization.”
— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) February 22, 2022
• IF the Blackhawks get a trade package that matches what they want for Hagel, I’m not sure they can say no. But, I will say that knowing they have received offers close to their asking price, but not quite exactly what they want, I don’t believe we will get to March 21 and see Brandon Hagel playing in another uniform.
• From The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers, where do the Blackhawks fall when it comes to who is on the trade block and who is just not available for a deal:
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 23, 2022
• There’s not too many players that Chicago wouldn’t/shouldn’t move. While we’ve talked about making major trades involving Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, or Alex DeBrincat, none of them are truly going anywhere in the next month. We can also pretty much bank that Seth Jones is here to stay and that Lukas Reichel and Kirby Dach will be part of the future as well. But outside of them, it seems to be fair to say anyone could be on the move.
• Which makes it hard for Blackhawks fans to really lock onto players they cheer for and invest their time, fandom, and money in. My advice to you, the Blackhawks fan looking for a new player to cheer for or new sweater to buy, invest your time in guys like DeBrincat and Reichel, maybe Dach if you truly believe he’ll figure it out eventually as a top-six NHL forward. Get in on those guys. Brandon Hagel too. Like I said, I don’t truly believe he will actually be traded. Those guys are the next group coming through Chicago that will be the go-to guys. Although, hopefully more are coming behind them.
• Speaking of Reichel, he could become a force in the NHL if he puts on a couple of pounds, from the eyes of Brandon Hagel…
Hagel on Reichel:
"He’s just a little stick, but he’s definitely going to get stronger and it’s going to help his game a ton — handling pucks, protecting the puck.
He’s so good at it already. Imagine if he puts on 10 pounds. It’s going to be crazy."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 22, 2022
• Even as an “undersized” player, Reichel has already shown small flashes of what makes him an exciting talent at the NHL level. He’s been playing very, very well in the AHL this season and he may be with the IceHogs for an AHL playoff push down the stretch this season. That could be really big for his development, and maybe even more important than playing unimportant games in the NHL in late-March and April. We shall see.
• Good to see Jonathan Toews continue to be on the ice for practice as he continues to deal with being on concussion protocol.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 22, 2022
• Kevin Lankinen is also getting back to health, which is good for him as it is possible he will be the starter in Chicago in a few weeks.
Lankinen: "I feel great. I was pumped up to be back around the boys and to see some shots. I'm probably the happiest guy on the team right now."
Honestly, I think that last part is ALWAYS the case. Good to have him back.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 22, 2022
• Lankinen also needs a new contract this summer. So getting on the ice and trying to improve on his .889 save-percentage and 3.41 GAA this season.
• The future of Blackhawks goaltending is looking more promising by the day as Drew Commesso continues to be one of the top up-and-coming goalies in all of Hockey. Yesterday, Commesso was named one of 11 semifinalists for the Pat Richter Award.
Boston University’s Drew Commesso has been named a Mike Richter Award (NCAA Top Goaltender) semifinalist #Blackhawks
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) February 22, 2022
• Commesso played for Team USA at the Winter Olympics, winning both games that he started. He was with Team USA at last summer’s World Championships as an injury replacement. He was with Team USA at the World Junior Championships this past winter and will be with them again when the tournament is replayed later in August. He’s also doing much better later in the season this year with Boston than when he started the year. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, Commesso is the best goaltending prospect the organization has seen since Corey Crawford and it’s more than fair to be excited about his future.
• Speaking of college prospects, 2021 seventh-round pick Connor Kelley netted his second goal of the season last night, helping Minnesota-Duluth top St. Cloud State 2-1 in a shootout.
• Kelley has two goals and ten points in 29 games this season, doubling his point-total from last season.
• From future Blackhawks defensemen to Former Blackhawks defensemen, Adam Boqvist seems to be doing just fine with the Blue Jackets…
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) February 23, 2022
• Boqvist is one of six defensemen in the NHL with double-digit goals so far this season and his 0.49 points per game pace is the second-best on the Columbus blue-line, only behind Zach Werenski’s 0.69.
• More former Blackhawks defensemen in the news as last night Zdeno Chara tied Chris Chelios for the most NHL games played by a defenseman with 1,651 games.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 23, 2022
• Chara will surpass Chelios on Saturday when the Islanders take on the L.A. Kings. Chara played the majority of his career, 1,023 games, with the Boston Bruins and will always be remembered as a Bruin. Chelios played the majority of his career, 664 games with the Chicago Blackhawks and will always be a player with an asterisk by his name for many Blackhawks fans…
• At least Chelios is still a Blackhawks Team Ambassador.
• Maple Leafs in the news last night following this insane Mitch Marner assist…
The goal: Great.
That Mitch Marner assist: Incredible. Amazing. Show Stopping. Spectacular. pic.twitter.com/fcLxkiPraj
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 23, 2022
• Maple Leafs in the news this morning as prospect Rodion Amirov, someone Blackhawks fans have had their eye on with potential trades to the Maple Leafs maybe on the table, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 23, 2022
• Awful news for a young player of his caliber, or for anyone to have to deal with. Hoping for the best for Amirov as he goes through treatment and recovery.
• A Happy Blackhawks Birthday to Nick Schmaltz!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 23, 2022
• Probably a happier birthday celebration today for another former Chicago athlete as it is also Charles Tillman’s birthday today!
Did you know that Charles “Peanut” Tillman — who is celebrating a birthday day — once forced 4️⃣ fumbles in a game?
Well, now ya do!
Happy birthday, @peanuttillman!
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) February 23, 2022
• Hope you all can give this Wednesday a “peanut punch” and make it a good one!
• I don’t know what that is supposed to even mean.
• That hat will do it for today. I think I may have had too much coffee.