Grading October, Davidson OK with Winning, New Partnerships, College Prospects Honored, Big Injury Concerns, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Grading October, Davidson OK with Winning, New Partnerships, College Prospects Honored, Big Injury Concerns, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Monday was what felt like a long overdue off day for the Blackhawks after a stretch of games six games in ten days. It was a good time to get out and trick or treat if you were so inclined, but also a good time to reflect on an unexpectedly positive month for the team. Tonight the Blackhawks will get their November started against the Islanders at the United Center.

  • So how do we feel about the Blackhawks – individually – after the first month of the season came to an end? I graded the forwards on Monday (and included the coaches as well). You might be able to guess what grade I gave Luke Richardson (in Canada it’s pronounced eh).
  • This morning I shared the second half of the October grades, focused on the defensemen and goalies. Jump into the comments and let me know how you would grade the performances thus far!
  • On Monday, Ben Pope shared a piece at the Chicago Sun-Times in which he spoke with general manager Kyle Davidson about the Blackhawks’ success on the ice negatively impacting the possibility of landing a top pick in the draft. Yes, it’s still ridiculously early but I’m not breaking new ground in saying the Hawks have exceeded expectations thus far.
  • Davidson should be thrilled with how the team is performing thus far. The entire summer and preseason he talked about building a roster for this season that had the right guys — not necessarily superstars but guys who played the game the way they wanted (hard and fast). And his first significant move as GM was hiring Richardson as the head coach to carry the team through a rebuild and into successful years. That hire looks genius now, and the difference between the room now and when Jeremy Colliton was in charge is night and day.
  • Remember when we were told Colliton was there as an alleged communicator? Yeah… anyways, Davidson’s comments about Richardson are subtle but I think we all get the point. Richardson is the right guy for the job and the Blackhawks (front office, players, fans) are beyond happy to have him in the organization.

“They set out with a plan based on the type of players we brought in, and it has been really impressive,” Davidson told Pope. “The players have responded. They’re competing hard every night and playing a really strong team game.

“Having a coach that can deliver a message is extremely important, and that’s what we’re seeing. Winning helps him build a culture, and that’s very positive. You take positives where you can find them, and this is a big one.”

  • On Monday the Blackhawks announced the “Century Collective,” a new “top-tier” corporate partnership program. The “century” designation is the first significant public move noting the Blackhawks organization nearing its 100th anniversary (which will arrive in 2026).
  • The first six members of this new group are AT&T, Belle Tire, BlockFills, NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health, Ticketmaster and United Airlines. Obviously United is the title sponsor of the United Center and Belle Tire has been the Blackhawks’ bucket sponsor for the past couple years.
  • These six partners will get increased opportunities for access to the Blackhawks for business purposes. But there’s also a component that ties them to the Blackhawks’ community initiatives. From the release:

Each Century Partner also commits investment to the Chicago Blackhawks strategic pillar of growing the game. In partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, the Century Collective together funds grassroots programming and initiatives that encourage play, make hockey more accessible, and create better education for amateur hockey leaders to create safer hockey environments.

  • A new Monday brought an updated college hockey poll, and the Blackhawks are once again well represented. Even though the Hawks’ prospects haven’t played yet for Michigan or Denver, those two programs hold the top two spots this week. Chicago also has prospects at St. Cloud State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Boston University, Providence and Minnesota Duluth.
  • The Blackhawks had two defensemen receive honors from their college conferences for last week’s performances. Taige Harding (the Blackhawks’ third-round pick in 2021) had a terrific week for Providence and was named the Hockey East Defender of the Week for his effort. He is indeed scary; Harding is listed at 6-7 and 235 pounds.
  • And Wyatt Kaiser, a third-round pick in 2020, was named the NCHC Defenseman of the Week for his strong performances for Minnesota-Duluth. Kaiser had an excellent summer that included a strong performance for USA Hockey at the World Juniors and has seen his stock rise with the organization.
  • Rockford also had a decent week — including an eight-goal performance — and David Gust was a driving force in the offense. His strong week earned him the AHL’s Player of the Week honor. Gust, 28, was undrafted and played four years at Ohio State before jumping to the AHL. He is currently an AHL contract player with Rockford after spending the previous two years with the Chicago Wolves.
  • He hasn’t earned any awards for his play at Michigan yet because an injury has kept him off the ice, but Frank Nazar‘s Halloween spirit was on display on the team’s twitter account yesterday. I think we can all agree we hope he… avenges… this injury and the end game for him is a top-six role with the Blackhawks in the future.
  • There were some pretty significant injuries in the news on Monday. The Ducks revealed that defenseman Jamie Drysdale’s regular season is in question because of a shoulder injury; he’ll miss 4-6 months. Washington’s T.J. Oshie is out indefinitely as well because of a lower-body injury suffered against Nashville. And Dallas has been playing well but was dealt a tough blow on Monday that they can’t fix very well because of cap issues.
  • Finally, the Bears made a huge deal on Monday. They traded star linebacker Roquan Smith to Baltimore for a couple picks. Does this feel like the Bears’ version of the Alex DeBrincat trade?

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab