Exit Interview Thoughts, a Season Ending Heater, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Exit Interview Thoughts, a Season Ending Heater, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Well, we’re now a full day past the end of the Blackhawks’ regular season and the final two games on the NHL calendar have been played. The dust has settled. The order for the draft lottery has been determined. And, by virtue of the Blue Jackets’ regulation loss last night, the Blackhawks finished 30th in the NHL — or, more specifically, third in the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes.

  • The Blackhawks hosted their end-of-season media availability with the players on Friday. One of the subjects that came up with a few guys was the idea of the Blackhawks naming a new captain. Connor Murphy wanted nothing to do with that, even though some (including me), believe he would be the right choice IF (enormous, massive, bold IF) the organization feels they want to name a new captain next season.
  • See, they don’t — and, in my opinion — they shouldn’t name a new captain next season. General manager Kyle Davidson told us on Thursday morning that the Blackhawks are still in rebuild mode, so there isn’t a plan to offer long-term contracts yet. Which means this organization and the NHL roster is going to remain in flux for the next year or so. If anything is available and everyone is tradeable, why put the C on someone? And, frankly, Murphy is right. Naming a new captain too soon is just disrespectful to the longest tenured and most successful captain in franchise history.
  • That being said, I appreciate the thoughtfulness that Murphy employed when asked a pretty direct question. He could have said “Man, that would be awesome! I would love it!” or “Vote for me! I want it!” Or expressed some veiled interest in being the next captain while trying to sound like a leader in the process. He was as direct as he has been since he arrived in Chicago. He hasn’t thought about it, it’s too soon, and he could never fill Jonathan Toews’ skates. Frankly, nobody will fill that locker stall for a long time — if ever — and certainly nobody on the roster right now is worthy of trying to follow him. But, again, if the organization feels they need a new captain next year, I’m on board with Murph.
  • On another note but staying with Murphy for a moment, he said he has been in contact with USA Hockey about potentially playing in the World Championship. But he’s also getting married this summer, so we’ll see.
  • Seth Jones will not play in the World Championship for USA Hockey.
  • Andreas Athanasiou closed the regular season a heater, posting 11 points in his final seven games and reaching the 20-goal mark in the season finale. When he accepted a move to center his game really seemed to take off, which makes him an intriguing player as he heads into unrestricted free agency this summer. He said he would love to come back to Chicago next season but acknowledged that he doesn’t have complete control of the process. He might have played well enough this season to get a multi-year deal from a team this summer, and the Blackhawks don’t sound like they’re excited at the prospect of anything longer than a two-year commitment at this point.
  • The final 2023 NHL Draft Lottery odds are now set. The Blackhawks finished third, but two other teams in the Central have a shot at landing Connor Bedard. We’ve got the full breakdown of odds for you this morning.
  • Outside of Chicago, there were a few notable job openings listed on LinkedIn around the NHL yesterday. Wanna be the head coach in Columbus, Anaheim or Washington? Maybe the GM in Pittsburgh? They’re looking for new people in those jobs (and a few more). We’re keeping track of the firings/departures for you!
  • Finally, the Bulls’ season came to an underwhelming end last night in Miami. After a nice comeback win in Toronto, the inconsistent, frustrating Bulls reappeared on South Beach. Our guy Eli wants better — he wants more. I think we all do.

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