CHICAGO – The news didn’t become official until early Monday night evening, but it already it had made its way out.
While it might have been disappointing for some, it wasn’t surprising to others based on a few moves made by the franchise.
The only qualifying offers the Blackhawks decided to make on Monday were to defenseman Caleb Jones and forward Philipp Kurashev. That meant no offer for two productive players for the last few years for the Blackhawks – forwards Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik.
Strome finished with 22 goals and 26 assists in the 2021-2022 campaign and finished strong, with 13 goals and 14 assists coming in March and April. While not as productive as the previous two seasons, Kubalik did score 15 goals and 17 assists last season.
It’s just another set of moves by general manager Kyle Davidson to start the rebuilding of the franchise, and he’s not playing around with that goal, much to the frustration of some on the outside.
During the NHL Draft, the Blackhawks dealt 41-goal scorer Alex DeBrincat along with center Kirby Dach to acquire two of their three first round selections. It’s another major deal pulled off by Davidson since officially taking over the general manager job last March, including his trading of another goal-scorer, Brandon Hagel, to the Lightning at the trade deadline.
While the debate continues as to whether the return was good enough, the one fact that can’t be disputed is the fact that the NHL roster is a bit light at the moment. Franchise veterans Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are both on the final year of their contract with defenseman Seth Jones just beginning his long-term deal.
A healthy amount of younger players make up the roster and already there are some wondering whether this group would fall far enough to get the No. 1 selection in the 2023 NHL Draft.
As Davidson progresses with the rebuild, one member of the organization won’t be moving forward with him, as senior hockey operations advisor Scotty Bowman announced on Twitter that he has left the organization after 14 years on Tuesday.
It’s a long road back to the top for the Blackhawks, and it’s going to get a bit rocky for the near future as the moves the last week have proven.