All Those *Other* Trades Allow Davidson To Be Patient at the Deadline

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Kyle Davidson

All Those *Other* Trades Allow Davidson To Be Patient at the Deadline

Chicago Blackhawks

When I played college football, my head coach had a saying he would repeat over and over again during offseason and preseason training. “Put the hay in the barn.”

What he meant was putting in the work early pays dividends when you need it. Like the concept of saving money “for a rainy day,” doing the work early means you don’t have to do more when you need it. I’ve been mindful of that saying a lot lately as we watch and wait for Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson to start making moves.

He’s got hay in the barn already, folks. So, while it’s hard for many of us to patiently wait for the big — maybe blockbuster — trades to happen, let’s keep in mind that he did some heavy lifting so he didn’t have to rush now.

As we look around the NHL at teams now looking to use this trade deadline to add assets in the much-hyped 2023 draft, the Blackhawks already had a stockpile of picks to play with this summer. That gives them an amount of certainty before starting to make the inevitable trade that are coming (soon).

Here are the Blackhawks’ picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming three drafts (from CapFriendly):

Chicago owned two picks in each of the first rounds of the draft before yesterday’s trade for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, which added a second-round pick from Ottawa for nothing. Literally nothing.

Davidson added Tampa’s first-round pick in 2023 (and ’24) from Tampa in the Brandon Hagel trade last year. The second-round pick the Blackhawks own from Tampa is actually from the trade that swapped Brent Seabrook’s contract for Tyler Johnson’s $5 million cap hit in 2021.

The third-round pick in 2023 from Dallas was a draft-day swap this past summer with Arizona. The Coyotes got the pick in the deal that sent goaltender Scott Wedgewood to Dallas; Arizona swapped the pick to Chicago for pick No. 94 (Jérémy Langlois) in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Davidson has also added picks in the 2024 draft in the trades of Hagel, Alex DeBrincat, Riley Stillman and Ryan Carpenter. Subtle, but that’s where a rebuild adds volume and depth. It’s player development’s job — and scouting — to make sure there’s quality in that volume and depth.

Having a handful of picks enables Davidson to make moves like he did with Arizona to maneuver from one draft to the next. It also gives him vertical mobility in the draft; he could package some of his second and third rounders to move up as well.

Or, he could make a deal to add an impactful player (to help the team get to the floor next year and help the NHL roster) with some of his assets as well.

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