On Thursday morning, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson met with the media for the first time in Chicago since the huge draft trades, picks, and free agency. As you might guess, he was asked a number of questions about his two franchise icons responses to his moves and their futures with the organization.
The big question came early and received an emphatic answer from Davidson. Has he spoken with Patrick Kane and/or Jonathan Toews since the departures of Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach and others?
“Yes, I have talked to Jonathan and Patrick this week.”
But there were follow-up questions, some of which received more direct answers than others.
How did the conversation with the two veteran leaders go? Though Davidson said he isn’t necessarily asking his two senior stars about his selections in the draft, there was a need for a robust conversation about the direction of the franchise now that two big trades have happened (and players like Dylan Strome have been allowed to leave as free agents).
“I thought it was healthy, open communication, open dialogue as it has been in the past,” Davidson said. “It was necessary, I felt. It’s never easy losing great players and great friends off the team. so, it was important that we sat down.”
There were a couple questions that he didn’t necessarily answer completely, but it’s understandable that he wasn’t ready to characterize the mindsets of the future Hall of Famers.
When asked if Kane and Toews are buying into his direction, Davidson realistically answered that would be a better question for them but did say he thought the conversation went well and they’re keeping open lines of dialogue as the summer progresses into training camp.
He did, however, say the organization does value their presence in the room moving forward.
“From our perspective, they offer so much value to being here,” he said. “Not only are they great on the ice, but all of the experience and all of the professionalism and what they know of the NHL and the lifestyle is something that’s invaluable when bringing younger players into the organization.
You have to have veteran players around. You can’t just have a full NHL team of ‘kids.’ That wouldn’t be fair to those young players coming in, so you need great veterans. That’s something you need around the room and to help [the younger players] in their development.”
When asked if he would be surprised if Kane and/or Toews wanted out of the new situation in Chicago, Davidson artfully dodged a direct answer. But his response was appropriate.
“I think it’s really hard to handicap at this point because it’s all so fresh,” Davidson told the media. “The draft just happened, a couple trades just happened, free agency was yesterday, so it’s pretty early in that process, so I don’t think I have a fully formed opinion on that one, one way or another right now.”
So where do things stand with the futures of Kane and Toews with the Chicago Blackhawks? They still have massive cap hits and full no-move clauses on their contracts, so the two stars will dictate what happens from here. But, if they’re open to being leaders on a young team, it certainly sounds like Davidson is hopeful that both will be part of the Blackhawks on the ice to at least begin the coming season.