DENVER – Perhaps someday fans will take a look at Wednesday and see that as the moment a journey back towards the top of the National Hockey League began.

Certainly, the Blackhawks hope that’s the case, because it will mean that the rebuild that has been initiated by new general manager Kyle Davidson when he took over the fulltime role in March of 2022 will have been a success.

Until then, including Wednesday night, it could be a lot of growing pains for a franchise that won three Stanley Cups in the 2010s. Over the last year, for reasons both on and off their ice, the team has begun the construction of a new era that, in many ways, begins tonight.

With a first year head coach, a roster full of young players, veterans on mostly short-term deals, along with two veterans from the team’s championships in 2010, 2013 & 2015, the Blackhawks open the 2022-2023 regular season against the Avalanche at Ball Arena at 8:30 PM.

The contest against the reigning Stanley Cup champions will be the first of 82 games for head coach Luke Richardson to take this mostly new group and begin development of a team on the ice for an organization with its eyes on the future.

While the desire to compete for victories is natural for anyone who puts on the pads, speeding up the rebuild would be aided by a poor season in 2022-2023, allowing the Blackhawks to get a high first round selection in next summer’s draft.

Nine players will take the ice for the team who weren’t there last season when the franchise announced its intention to rebuild. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are still on the squad, but each is entering his last year on their current contract.

Defenseman Seth Jones and Connor Murphy are the only ones on the roster with any significant time left on their deals with the team.

Wednesday will mark the fifth-straight year that the Blackhawks will open the regular season on the road as they’ll be looking for their first opener win since 2018 when they beat the Senators in Ottawa.

You can watch WGN News Now’s Blackhawks 2022-2023 season preview with Larry Hawley in the video above.