Today’s Trade Got Me Thinking About How Much One Draft Impacts the Next

When news broke on Wednesday morning that the Blackhawks traded defenseman Nicolas Beaudin to the Montreal Canadiens, my immediate reaction wasn’t along the lines of “Oh, cool! Who did they get in return?” Instead, the deal simply served as a reminder that drafting poorly one season can trickle down to subsequent drafts and ultimately the NHL roster. Kind of a bummer Wednesday thought, if you ask me.

But let me underscore that, because it’s especially important right now: One draft sets the table for subsequent drafts. And that can often tell you a lot about internal evaluations from the brains in charge of the organization.

For example, between 2016 and 2019, the Blackhawks used six 1st or 2nd round picks on defensemen, and the only two remaining in the organization are Alex Vlasic (2nd round, 2019) and Ian Mitchell (2nd round, 2017). The Blackhawks had eight total picks in the first or second rounds of those four drafts; the only two forwards they selected that high in those four years were DeBrincat (2016) and Kirby Dach (2019).

The lack of forward depth in the organization is what led to the offensive struggles of the past few years at the NHL level. And ultimately, it led to the Blackhawks using all but two picks in the 2022 NHL Draft on forwards. (Certainly, I understand why — the organization needed to add quality and depth to the system up front and did that with the volume of picks general manager Kyle Davidson was able to acquire with his flurry of trades during last season and over the summer (Yes, I’ll acknowledge the Blackhawks used two of their three first-round picks in 2022 on defensemen. We’ll get to that.))

For now, we have only one Davidson draft class to consider, but it’s the start of a broader, era-defining arc.

Specifically, in a copycat league where everyone wants to have someone like Cale Makar to drive the game from the blue line, the Blackhawks identified Kevin Korchinski as that guy. They made him a priority in the draft and were able to get their guy thanks to the DeBrincat trade. And that’s why I wrote that Korchinski will be the headline on Davidson’s legacy; the two will be tied together forever.

But more than that, the first draft class of Davidson’s tenure was a needed course correction for the organization. He overwhelmingly went with forwards because there was skill available and he took it because the Blackhawks need it.

The next Blackhawks draft(s) will tell us even more about how Davidson evaluates talent, values his previous picks, and views his development timeline.

This is all a reminder, ultimately, that draft classes need to be viewed in context. Mistakes lead to reaches, and reaches lead to desperation. The Beaudin trade is another reminder that mistakes were made, reaches were made and the Blackhawks became desperate.

Davidson is still cleaning up the mess left behind by Bowman. The NHL roster he constructed for this year is looking good early, and may lead to additional assets to bolster the future later this year. For now, we’re watching how he turns the last few crappy years and bad drafts into fertilizer for the future he’s trying to grow in Chicago.

written by

Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

more blackhawks news

If the Door Is Even Slightly Open For a Patrick Kane Return, the Blackhawks Should Bust It Open

Call me unrealistic. Call me desperate. Heck, call me pathetic. I don't care. Patrick Kane should still be a Chicago Blackhawk. While I disagreed with the decision to trade (and not extend) him last year, I did understand the Blackhawks'...

Athanasiou Nearing Return, Kaiser Update, Trade Deadline Archetypes, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

How about that storm that rolled thru Chicago last night? My son's indoor baseball practice had to go huddle in the windowless corner of the building in Bensenville because the horns were going off outside and the whole idea of...

28 on 28: Steve Larmer Completed the Rangers’ Championship Team

It's the 28th of the month, which means it's time to talk about the legacy of Steve Larmer (whose number should be retired next by the Chicago Blackhawks). But I'm taking a different spin on this month's edition of our...

Kane Comeback Thoughts, Toews, Korchinski, B1G Freshmen, Cheli’s Custom Converse, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

How about a slow week for the Blackhawks for once in what feels like forever? After playing nine games in 18 days since the all-star break, eight of which have been at the United Center, the Hawks are off until...

I’m Still Trying to Get Over Patrick Kane’s Emotional Return

Before yesterday's marathon began, I wrote about how emotional I expected the day to be with the Blackhawks retiring Chris Chelios' jersey and then Patrick Kane returning to the United Center. The confluence of those events felt like putting a...

A Wild Night in Chicago, Chelios, Seabrook, Stars Scouting Again, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Yesterday was a lot, folks. Just a lot. I knew going in that the day was going to be an emotional rollercoaster for Blackhawks fans of my age, and the day did not come up short. Wow! From chatting with...

Blackhawks 2, Red Wings 3 (OT) — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

After a fantastic ceremony celebrating Chris Chelios' career... oh crap! We've gotta play a game still. The star of the first period was Patrick Kane, but not necessarily for anything he did on the ice on Sunday. He got three...

WATCH: Blackhawks Celebrate Patrick Kane With Tribute Video, Fans Give Him Three-Minute Standing Ovation

Yes, the Blackhawks retired No. 7 for Chris Chelios before the game on Sunday. But a big part of the fan base was waiting for the organization to welcome home Patrick Kane for the first time. During the first television...

BN Blackhawks Prospect Watch: College Three Stars (Feb. 26)

For the first time in a while, this week's three stars among the Blackhawks' college prospects was a struggle to pick -- in a bad way. Minnesota didn't play and there weren't any big-time, stand-out performances. In fact, only two...

Blackhawks vs Red Wings – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Y'all already know. Today's one of the big days. Drink water, bring tissues, get ready to cheer and cry and let Detroit know that they still suck and all the goods. Blackhawks vs. Red Wings hasn't meant this much since,...

Latest News

Best NBA Prop Bets Today – Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Golden State Warriors versus the New York Knicks is one of eight strong options on today's NBA schedule.NBA prop bets for today's games are available, so if you're interested in placing a bet or building a parlay, you'll find...

Minnesota vs. Penn State: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-11, 8-9 Big Ten) will host the Penn State Nittany Lions (14-15, 8-10 Big Ten) after winning four straight home games.Minnesota lost its previous game to Illinois, 105-97, on Wednesday. Dawson Garcia starred with 29 points,...

Arizona vs. Oregon: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The No. 6 Arizona Wildcats (22-6, 13-4 Pac-12) host the Oregon Ducks (19-9, 11-6 Pac-12) in Pac-12 play at McKale Center, beginning at 2:00 PM ET on Saturday, March 2, 2024.In its most recent game, Arizona defeated Arizona State on...

2024 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker: Dallas Lands Tanev

The 2024 NHL Trade Deadline is Friday, March 8, 2023 at 3 PM ET. In this space, we're going to track all of the trades around the NHL leading up to the deadline, beginning on Feb. 28. Dallas Acquires Defenseman...

Austin Peay vs. Bellarmine: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Bellarmine Knights (8-22, 4-11 ASUN) will visit the Austin Peay Governors (16-14, 9-6 ASUN) after losing three straight road games.Austin Peay won its previous game against Eastern Kentucky, 83-79, on Wednesday. Sai Witt led the way with 26 points,...

How to Watch La Salle Explorers vs. George Washington Revolutionaries: Live Stream or on TV

The George Washington Revolutionaries (14-14, 3-12 A-10) will try to end an 11-game losing streak when they hit the road to play the La Salle Explorers (14-15, 5-11 A-10) on March 2, 2024 at Tom Gola Arena.In its most recent...

Radford vs. UNC Asheville: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Radford Highlanders (15-15, 5-10 Big South) host the UNC Asheville Bulldogs (19-11, 11-4 Big South) in Big South action at Donald N. Dedmon Center, beginning at 2:00 PM ET on Saturday, March 2, 2024.Radford dropped its previous game to...

Big Ten Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

The Michigan Wolverines versus the Rutgers Scarlet Knights is one of two games on Thursday's college basketball slate that features a Big Ten team in play, and we've got best bets tips for you.How to Bet on Big Ten Games[lasso...

AAC Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

Just one AAC game is on Thursday's college basketball schedule. That matchup is the Memphis Tigers squaring off against the East Carolina Pirates at Minges Coliseum, and we have best bets recommendations across the board.How to Bet on AAC Games[lasso...

Pac-12 Basketball Predictions, Computer Picks and Best Bets | February 29

The UCLA Bruins versus the Washington Huskies is one of three games on the Thursday college basketball schedule that features a Pac-12 team. If you look below, you can see our best bets for that conference action.How to Bet on...

more blackhawks news