While the focus of Wednesday’s press conference introducing Luke Richardson was meeting the new head coach of the team, general manager Kyle Davidson was asked a few questions about the immediate future of the organization.
Hiring his head coach is the first big step of Davidson’s first offseason as the general manager of the Blackhawks. With that in place, he can now turn his attention to the 2022 NHL Draft — which happens to begin in eight days.
Davidson was asked about moving into the first round of the draft this year; Chicago has two picks in the second round and three in the third but no selections in the first round. He reiterated that it would be nice to have a first rounder this year, but he isn’t going to force anything.
“That’s when you make mistakes,” Davidson said about making trades simply for the sake of making a deal.
He was also specifically asked about the Alex DeBrincat situation, which he wouldn’t discuss at much/any detail (for all of the obvious reasons). Davidson did speak about the goal being to add assets to help accelerate their collection of impactful talent in the organization.
But they won’t “force” anything. Davidson isn’t going to take an offer for DeBrincat or anyone else that he doesn’t feel gives the Blackhawks adequate return for the player(s) they’re moving in the deal.
Which is consistent with what Davidson did and said at the trade deadline. Many felt players like Calvin de Haan or Dominik Kubalik were easy bets to leave town in the final years of their respective contracts. But neither was moved, and Davidson spoke after the fact about not just making a move to take what was on the table at the time.
Davidson has been very intentional in his comments about his plan to rebuild the Blackhawks. Obviously action speaks louder than words, but he isn’t showing the desperation some might think would be an automatic from a first-time general manager with good pieces available on the market.
Davidson isn’t chasing headlines. He’s here to build a winning hockey team at the NHL level, and he’s comfortable that it’s going to take time. With Richardson now installed as his head coach, the focus is now on the future of the roster.
The next ten days are going to tell us a lot about the short and long term future of the Chicago Blackhawks. Davidson has picks to use in the draft and may add more; he could also package his pieces to move up or add in next year’s more highly regarded draft. How, and on whom, he uses his picks will begin building the profile of the types of players Davidson and his staff want to build around.