Davidson Speaks: Rebuild Imminent, Trade Deadline Outlook, Thoughts on Next Head Coach, More

Flanked by Chicago Blackhawks’ Chairman Rocky Wirtz, CEO Danny Wirtz, and President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner, interm GM Kyle Davidson was re-introduced to the media earlier this afternoon as the franchise’s 10th full-time General Manager.

In his opening remarks, CEO Danny Wirtz made it clear that Davidson wasn’t a hire that was forced, or one solely spurred by familiarity, but rather that Davidson was “everything they were looking for” in the next leader of their hockey operations department. While Davidson might have been Danny Wirtz’s early favorite in the search, he stressed that the search was wide-spanning and comprehensive, but in the end, Davidson became the clear-cut choice in the eyes of himself, Rocky, and Jaime Faulkner.

Davidson also spoke to the thoroughness of the process and the quality of candidates that he was competing with for the job, going as far as to say that “at times he wasn’t sure he was going to get the job.”

As you would have expected, there were plenty of questions about how Kyle Davidson plans to attack both the immediate and long-term future of the Chicago Blackhawks. Let’s touch on some of the key takeaways from this afternoon’s media availability.

A Complete Rebuild is Coming

When Stan Bowman laid out the future vision of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2020, he admitted that the current version of the team had grown stale and that a rebuild was necessary to get the Blackhawks back to the competitive state that they wanted to be in. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortened season playoffs in the bubble where the 23rd-seeded (of 24 participating teams) upset the Edmonton Oilers in the play-in round before Vegas outclassed them in the actual Stanley Cup Playoffs. Maybe that gave Bowman some false hope for the future and made him second guess his rebuilding plans. Either way, the 2020-21 season that saw the Blackhawks finish 24-25-7 and miss the playoffs should have corrected the course. It didn’t, and the Blackhawks acquired Marc-André Fleury, Seth Jones, and Jake McCabe, among others, and all of a sudden, the team was expected to be competitive again.

Until they weren’t. The team stunk it up in a historical fashion out of the gates, and Stan Bowman went down in flames when the Block & Jenner report was made public, and Jeremy Colliton was out the door not long after him, the first move by then-interim GM Kyle Davidson. Now, with Davidson in the driver seat of the Chicago hockey ops department, expect a rebuild.

Davidson also stressed that the team would not be undertaking another re-tooling but rather taking their time to address “things that we really need to fix that are going to take some time.” Speaking of time, Davidson made it clear that he’s not placing any timelines on this rebuild, one that will strive to revamp the organization on and off the ice completely.

Danny Wirtz made it clear that time is no issue in this rebuild and that getting it right is the only thing that matters to him.

Trade Deadline Outlook

Davidson wasn’t as forthcoming with details with the trade deadline topic as he was with their intent to undergo a complete rebuild, but you can do the math yourself on this one. If Davidson is serious about rebuilding the organization from top to bottom, then this trade deadline will be crucial for them. Davidson made it clear that if the opportunity to acquire future assets that helps them in their rebuild arises, they’ll be ready to explore those options.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Will Have a Voice

The Chicago Blackhawks took the advice and insight of former greats like Eddie Olczyk, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp into account in selecting Kyle Davidson as their next GM, and Kye Davidson has every intention of showing the current team legends Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane the same respect through this process.

Davidson has already been leaning on a former Blackhawk in Brian Campbell since he took the interim job back in October. As for what type of role (if any) Campbell might play in Davidson’s front office, that remains to be seen.

Plans for Behind the Bench

Kyle Davidson complimented interim head coach Derek King for the job he has done with the Blackhawks since taking over for the Jeremy Colliton on November 6 and called his time behind the bench a “practical” interview for the permanent job.

Whether or not Derek King is in the picture long-term, Davidson said that he’s looking for an “elite communicator” in his next head coach. The search for that next head coach will begin sometime after the 2021-22 season concludes next month.

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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