Reacting to Kyle Davidson as the Next GM (And Other Blackhawks Bullets)

Good morning Blackhawks fans! Or, maybe not so good if you’re like me and you were up until almost 2:00 am refreshing the timeline for MLB labor negotiation updates. Either way, we should have a new Blackhawks GM today. You know, officially, official.

UPDATE: Yup, it’s official.

 

•   On Monday afternoon, we learned from Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff that the Chicago Blackhawks would remove Kyle Davidson’s interim tag and make him the permanent GM in Chicago.

•   Davidson, 33, has spent his entire hockey operations career with the Chicago Blackhawks, starting with a sales internship with the Rockford IceHogs and an eventual internship with the Blackhawks in 2010. Davidson was promoted to a full-time role as a Hockey Analytics/Video Analyst the following season. Davidson has risen through the ranks with the Blackhawks, serving in multiple positions, including Hockey Administration Coordinator, Hockey Operations Manager, Senior Manager of Hockey Operations, Assistant to the General Manager, and, of course, most recently, Interim General Manager.

•  The Blackhawks cast a wide net for their GM search, interviewing bright minds both inside and out of the hockey world even bringing in Scott Greenberg of the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Raptors Vice-President of Basketball Operations & Player Development Teresa Resch, along with several current and former NHL hockey ops candidates before reportedly narrowing the list down to the incumbent Davidson, Scott Greenberg and Mathieu Darche of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ultimately the Blackhawks went with Davidson, who was thought to be CEO Danny Wirtz’s favorite from the jump, which will open the Blackhawks up to criticism like this:

•   It’s fair to wonder why the Blackhawks went with an internal hire after they pledged to shed their old ways and look to change the face of their franchise. But, it’s not fair to assume that Kyle Davidson is an insular hire and some kind of Stan Bowman disciple or re-tread. In fact, Davidson spent much of his early and formative days in the Blackhawks front office learning from former Assistant General Manager and current Seattle Kraken Director of Player Personnel, Norm Maciver. Here’s what Maciver had to say about Davidson to Scott Powers in a 2021 story at The Athletic:

“During the winter, if I was going to scout, he would just come with me,” said Maciver. “We would just go scout games together. We had a lot of free time on our hands, and we got along really well. We developed a close friendship.

“He’s just a really bright person, for one. He works extremely hard. He’s got just a great passion for the game, passion for the Blackhawks. But he’s very inquisitive. He’s a great listener. He obviously didn’t play, he didn’t coach, but he was always looking to pick my brain and other people’s brains on things. When situations did arise, things that happened during the course of the game or whatever, right away, he’ll bring something up, and we would be able to discuss it. He was never one of those that felt like he had all the answers. I know he’s still that way.”

•   Ben Pope of the Sun-Times shared a similar opinion on Davidson on Monday evening, calling Davidson a “bold thinker full of fresh ideas and an eagerness for change” and “nothing like Stan Bowman.”

•   Davidson deserves the benefit of the doubt. Still, it’ll be a tricky thing to convince Blackhawks fans, who are justifiably scorned by the actions of their favorite franchise and viewing everything through a cynical lens these days. Davidson can begin to prove his worth right off the bat with the NHL trade deadline just three weeks away. Now, with the interim tag in the rearview mirror, Davidson has no reason not to make the moves necessary to get the Blackhawks’ rebuild off the ground.

•   Marc-André Fleury is the biggest name to watch for, but the Blackhawks have also reportedly received strong offers for Brandon Hagel. They have players like Erik Gustafsson, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter, Kevin Lankinen, and recently acquired Sam Lafferty. All of them are eligible for unrestricted free agency, making them ideal rentals for teams in competitive windows looking to bolster their roster for a playoff run. We’ll talk more about all of that soon.

•   Elliotte Friedman said on NHL Network last night that former Blackhawk Brian Campbell is expected to be a part of the new Chicago front office. Frank Seravalli noted the same at the end of his column on Monday afternoon in which he reported that Davidson would indeed be the GM. Still, neither expounded on the potential role that Campbell will fill in the front office.

•   All right, now that you’ve heard my thoughts, let’s get into some reactions on the news of Davidson’s promotion from around the Chicago Blackhawks beat. First up, Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports Chicago has five thoughts on Davidson:

•   Jay Zawaski and James Neveau discuss the news on the latest episode of the Madhouse Chicago Hockey Podcast:

•   Ben Pope sets the stage for the expected announcement that Kyle Davidson will become the youngest GM in the NHL today:

•   We’ll wrap it up with Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers’ five-step plan for Davidson:

•   That’s it for now, but I’m sure we’ll be discussing this move and the other front office hired plenty in the coming days.

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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