When the Blackhawks won the draft lottery last week, the questions about what this meant for this team and the rebuild that Kyle Davidson has been successfully constructing. Some fans felt this was all that was needed to give the green light to start spending the loads of cap space available, while others hoped that KD was going to stick to his guns and do this rebuild right. For me, I know I fall into the second camp, but with the emotional damage done by Stan Bowman and his "retool" on the fly, I will admit part of me is worried the young GM would see this as a chance to go all in. The amount of relief I felt when I read quotes from KD's interview with Mully and Haugh on 670 The Score:
"The Blackhawks’ collection of picks and cap space is obviously all favorable. Almost everything there is by design — minus the No. 1 pick, because that’s something that’s just fortunate. But the draft picks, the cap space — it’s all by design and for good reason in this rebuild. I think what we’ve seen and how we’ve studied the landscape in the NHL is that you can really stunt your ceiling and your upside as a team by spending too early."
Seeing KD take the slow build approach is a huge change of pace from what we are used to from the Bowman era. He also went on to talk about the future core of players that we already have and could be adding to. This upcoming draft will need to be paid for, and you are going to want to learn from others mistakes and be able to get these key pieces locked down for a long time. While Bedard is the future of this team, you can't forget the supporting cast of players like Korchinski, Nazar, and Vlasic, to name a few. As KD said in his interview, this isn’t about making this team relevant again; it’s about winning multiple championships. To make this happen, he is going to need to be smart, even when it might not be the popular opinion among the fans. You have to listen to the old saying, "Trust the process.”
Another interesting takeaway from his interview is his stance on the pick he has to work with here in just a few weeks. With eight picks in the first three rounds, he doesn’t expect to use all of them. With a lot of cap-crunched teams and this being a deep draft class, could we see another Mrazek-type trade that sees the Hawks move a 2nd rounder for a 1st and a bad contract? Now is the time to do this; there is a 2-year window before you start to change the page from rebuild to let's get serious about winning. This team will need to take on some contracts to get to the floor, so let's see how KD can fleece these GMs.
With just 42 days until the NHL Entry Draft and 45 days until the start of free agency, it’s a good time to start thinking about what's on your wish list as fans. For me, there are two main things I am wishing for, with the first being KD sticking to his rebuild plans and not throwing money away because he has it. Luckily, from what I talked about earlier, that wish is going to come true. My other wish is somehow finding a way to move up in the first round and really make the 2023 draft one that we will look back on in a few years as a game changer. That number 11 pick, which belongs to a Vancouver team that desperately needs to shed caps, looks like a pick that could be had. The Canucks have been rumored to be looking to part ways with Brock Boeser, and with the Hawks needing to get to the cap floor, could KD put some sort of package together to bring pick 11 and Boeser to Chicago? Who knows but now is the time to have a little fun and get creative with trade ideas. Only time will tell, and lucky for us, the answers will be coming in just a few weeks. It is crazy how much can change in a matter of weeks in terms of excitement for the offseason.