Stanley Cup Final Finally Begins, No. 2 Talk, Carolina Buzz, Buffalo Shopping 11, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Some speculation regarding the Blackhawks’ draft plans: on Friday’s episode of “The Athletic Hockey Show,” Scott Powers said the team is leaning toward Michigan State RHD Artyom Levshunov with the No. 2 overall pick later this month. After a lengthy media session with the GM, Powers wrote about the Blackhawks’ approach at No. 2 and wasn’t as confident as he sounded on the podcast. For what it’s worth, Levshunov said he’s spoken with the Blackhawks a few times, including a nice dinner this week in Buffalo.

  • Of course when Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson spoke with the media in Buffalo on Friday, he kept his poker face. The other name widely linked to the Blackhawks at No. 2 is Russian winger Ivan Demidov, who is not at the Scouting Combine this week in Buffalo because of the whole Russia thing. His representation will meet with NHL teams in Florida between now and the draft beginning.
  • “I’d say the debate is still very real,” Davidson said on Friday. “I thought we would have a little, maybe a decision at this point, which is not a bad thing at all, but I think there are some really good options out there. And so it’s something that we’re knocking around, we’ll take a little bit of a break after the combine and kind of revisit that in 7-10 days and start going through things again. But yeah, we’ll decide closer to again, so no, we’re still knocking things around.”

  • Carolina hot isn’t just a preferred barbeque sauce at this point apparently. It’s the NHL rumor mill, and the Blackhawks are included. There seems to be more smoke around the Blackhawks and UFA forward Jake Guentzel right now, while there are still those who wonder about the future of RFA forward Martin Nečas. I wrote about Elliotte Friedman once again linking Chicago to Guentzel on the Friday edition of the “32 Thoughts” Podcast yesterday, but the guys also touched on Nečas. My gut tells me if Guentzel doesn’t want to stay in Carolina, they’ll spend that money on Nečas. But if the Canes are going to potentially walk away from both of them? That might signal a more significant rebuild — unless they can get a haul for Nečas in a trade. So keep an eye on Carolina in the coming weeks…
  • Also noteworthy from the Friday edition of the “32 Thoughts” Podcast, Elliotte Friedman said the Buffalo Sabres are open to moving the 11th overall pick. They’re reportedly looking for a top-six forward in exchange. Add the Sabres to the New Jersey Devils — owners of No. 10 overall — as teams looking to move lottery picks for help now. That might be a trend as we get closer to the draft with front offices not being as high on this year’s draft class as they were last year.
  • The leaders of the new Chicago Sports Network wrote a guest op-ed for Sportico on Friday in which they presented their vision for the new channel and some thoughts on the RSN space on the macro as well. I think paragraph answers some of the concerns that have been voiced by Blackhawks fans since the announcement of the new channel:
  • Our fan-first approach will continue to feature traditional cable, satellite and streaming, and we will expand our reach to fans by including over-the-air television and exciting new ways to digitally connect with our most ardent fans.  

  • Incredible. Just incredible.
  • For those who are keeping track of who we’ll be cursing every time there’s a whistle, here are the officials for the Stanley Cup Final. Game One is today (finally).
  • Finally, I love the swagger here.
  • 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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