Bedard Talks Winning and Kane, the Cost of Cap Space, OT Approach, Reichel Update, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Connor Bedard for DraftKings promo code 2.25

Yesterday, Connor Bedard chatted with the media for the first time since facing Patrick Kane and the Red Wings on Sunday. Between the drama and emotions in the building and the game itself, there was a lot to unpack with the young superstar, but there’s another game on the schedule tonight against another A-Level star, Nathan MacKinnon. The schedule doesn’t slow down in the NHL, even if there are couple days between games.

I loved this specific answer from Bedard when asked about some of the dignitaries who were in the building for Chris Chelios‘ jersey retirement. He wants to win so badly, and seeing the relationship the guys from the dynasty teams still have really stood out to him. He’s talked about having a relationship like that with Kevin Korchinski and Ethan Del Mastro, Nolan Allan and Colton Dach to a lesser extent because of their gold medal win for Canada at last year’s World Junior Championship. But it’s clear Bedard wants that in the NHL with the Blackhawks now.

  • Thankfully, Bedard didn’t take Kaner’s “threat” of retaliation very seriously; you might recognize the voice asking Kane the question that got the now-viral answer (yeah, it’s me). I give Bedard a lot of credit for how he’s handled the questions about and comparisons to Kane over the past week. It’s unavoidable when you consider all of the factors: the only two No. 1 overall picks in team history, size, skill level… but he’s been level headed about it all.
  • As an FYI, moving forward we’re going to have a 2024 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker here on the website for the NHL at-large. We’ll do our best to keep that updated with everything that happens around the league between now and the Trade Deadline (which is 2 PM CT on March 8).
  • The reason we’re firing that up now is because trades are going to start happening that are both interesting from a Blackhawks’ perspective and also might have some market indicators for what the Blackhawks are able to do between now and the deadline. The Dallas Stars acquiring defenseman Chris Tanev from the Calgary Flames yesterday has both.
  • First, I’ve mentioned in this space a few times that the Stars have had members of their front off all the way up to the assistant general manager at Blackhawks games over the past month. Clearly there’s something in Chicago they have been watching. If it was a defenseman (I’m not sure who?), that issue was solved with this deal. So take that off the board, at least until this summer.
  • However, our other takeaway as Blackhawks fans from this trade is the cost to take on money. The Hawks have a truckload of cap space, and GMKD might choose to weaponize that to bring back additional assets and/or draft capital before the deadline. In this specific deal, the New Jersey Devils landed a fourth-round pick (in 2026) from the Stars to eat $1.125 million of Tanev’s cap hit. So there’s a market indicator of what the cost to use cap space might be.
  • Head coach Luke Richardson was asked about the play that led to Kane’s breakaway goal that ended the game on Sunday. After the Blackhawks lost their previous game in overtime without even getting Bedard on the ice, there were going to be questions. And when Seth Jones attacked the net, some fans looked at Bedard sitting along on the back door and complained that he should have passed. Richardson broke it down in detail on Wednesday. A very good listen.
  • This is a nice piece from Ben Pope about the evolving, growing leadership of Bedard in the Blackhawks’ room. He might not get the “C” on his chest next year (I’m thinking Nick Foligno gets it for a couple years first to take the pressure off), but it will undoubtedly be his at some point. Solid read here.
  • Scott Powers checked in on how Lukas Reichel is doing in Rockford. The good news is he’s been doing a lot of the things he’s been asked to since his demotion. But a recall doesn’t appear to be coming soon as the organization wants him to get comfortably confident again.
  • An interesting signing here from Minnesota. Forward Marat Khusnutdinov has put pen to paper with the Wild. Khusnutdinov, 21, was Minnesota’s second-round pick in 2020 and recently terminated his KHL contract so he can come to the NHL. He’s been a captain of every team he’s played for in Russia. The contract termination part is what makes this most noteworthy. I wonder if the politics in Russia will lead to more players asking out.
  • Finally, the Cubs re-introduced Cody Bellinger on Wednesday. It’s a beautiful thing. And I’m excited to see him run it back at Wrigley Field this year.
  • 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

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