What Are The Blackhawks Doing On The Blue Line?
Friday morning brought news that the Chicago Blackhawks signed 19-year-old defenseman Ethan Del Mastro. The fourth rounder from the 2021 NHL Draft getting a contract is an intriguing proposition and raises more questions than answers as general manager Kyle Davidson begins charting his path as the lead voice in Chicago’s front office.
Davidson inherited an organization that had a stockpile of blue line prospects and too many bodies for the NHL roster, but he’s done more to add to that area of depth than anything since becoming the interim GM. Davidson has signed six players to contracts as the general manager of the Blackhawks. Three of those six are defensemen (Louis Crevier, Alex Vlasic and Del Mastro). Only one of the six is a forward; Reese Johnson inked an extension earlier this month.
The cupboard is overflowing on the back end for the Blackhawks. Obviously only three contracts have been written by Davidson, but he was part of the front office group that has heavily invested in defensive prospects in recent drafts. As the permanent general manager this summer, Davidson will navigate a draft and free agency as the man for the first time; he’s already been through an NHL trade deadline (a deadline that saw him not move any of his defensemen).
So what do the Blackhawks have on the back end moving forward? The deal with Del Mastro gives us a good excuse to look around the organization and evaluate what the present and future might hold.
Here’s the contractual situation of the current NHL veterans on the Blackhawks’ payroll:
Cap Hit (in 2022-23): $9.5M
Signed thru: 2029-30*
* – 10-team no-trade clause
Cap Hit: $4.4M
Signed Thru: 2025-26
Cap Hit: $4M
Signed Thru: 2024-25*
* – 7-team no-trade clause
Cap Hit: $1.35M
Signed Thru: 2023-24
- Pending Unrestricted Free Agents: Calvin de Haan, Erik Gustafsson
- Pending Restricted Free Agents: Caleb Jones, Wyatt Kalynuk
So we have four veteran NHL defensemen who are signed already beyond this season: two right-handed shots and two lefties. Bowman gave modified no-trade clauses to both Seth Jones and McCabe when they signed with the Hawks. And it’s worth noting that the listed cap hits for both Murphy and Seth Jones are on contracts in their first years next season.
Regarding the pending free agents, it will be very interesting to see what Davidson does with Caleb Jones. Stan Bowman tried to acquired Seth’s brother for a few years before finally getting him from Edmonton in the deal that sent Duncan Keith to the Oilers. He’s still only 24 years old and is coming off a deal with an $850,000 cap hit. But do the Hawks need him?
The same can be asked of Kalynuk, who was a nice surprise last year but hasn’t been able to get any run at the NHL level (he’s appeared in five NHL games this season). What’s crazy: Kalynuk is older than Caleb Jones (and Stillman); he turned 25 on April 14. After appearing in 21 games with the Blackhawks during the 2020-21 season, he’s been in Rockford almost this entire season. As a pending RFA, the influx of more young bodies with contracts makes it a big question if Kalynuk will get another contract with the Blackhawks.
It feels obvious that de Haan won’t be back next season; the Hawks tried to move him in the expansion draft and somehow didn’t get a deal done before the trade deadline. And we’ve been pretty outspoken that Gustafsson shouldn’t have been here in the first place this season.
Given the play of some of the young defensemen we’ve seen this season, it would be completely understandable if all four of the free agent defensemen were gone next season. And Caleb Jones and Kalynuk might have some value on the trade market if Davidson were to pursue moving them before/during the draft.
If we assume all four free agent veteran defensemen are not back in Chicago next season, that still leaves only 2-3 spots available for a prospect to be promoted. And the Blackhawks will need to promote someone from Rockford next year because there are still too many bodies for the IceHogs’ blue line as well.
The Blackhawks already have a group of six prospects who have seen some action in the NHL on their resumes. Will some of them fill out the NHL roster next year? If so, how many will earn a promotion?
Ht/Wt: 6-6, 200
Acquired: 2nd round (#43) – 2019 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $916,667
Signed Thru: 2023-24
Professional Career: 11 games (all in the NHL)
Ht/Wt: 6-4, 210
Acquired: via trade from Detroit for Brendan Perlini (Oct. 28, 2019)
Cap Hit: $866,667
Signed Thru: 2022-23
Professional Career: 56 games with Rockford, 15 games with Chicago
Ht/Wt: 5-11, 175
Acquired: 2nd round (#57) – 2017 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $925,000
Signed Thru: 2022-23
Professional Career: 60 games with Rockford, 47 games with Chicago
Ht/Wt: 5-11, 170
Acquired: 1st round (#27) – 2018 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $863,333
Signed Thru: 2022-23
Professional Career: 129 games with Rockford, 22 games with Chicago
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 195
Acquired: 5th round (#141) – 2020 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $859,167
Signed Thru: 2023-24
Professional Career: 76 games with Rockford, 4 games with Chicago
Ht/Wt: 5-11, 162
Acquired: 5th round (#150) – 2017 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $867,500
Signed Thru: 2022-23
Professional Career: 54 games with Rockford, 6 games with Chicago
So we’ve got six defensemen in the relatively young but with NHL experience bucket, all vying for those limited roster spots in Chicago next season. Regula and Vlasic are finishing the season with the Blackhawks and they’re both skating well with improved ice times and being used in different ways by the coaching staff down the stretch.
It’s important to recognize that, from this list of six, only two — Regula and Mitchell — are right-handed shots. But they play different games; Mitchell has emerged as a potential top-four defenseman with his improved all-around play in Rockford this season (he has 10 goals and 24 assists in 55 games with Rockford) while Regula obviously has more size. We’ve seen a little bit from Phillips and Galvas, but they’ve shown tantalizing skill at times while skating with the Blackhawks.
Four of these six defensemen have just one year remaining on their current contracts, however. Regula, Mitchell, Galvas and Beaudin will all be restricted free agents in the summer of 2023. Even so, that’s 10 bodies under contract (without re-signing any FAs) and the Hawks have been linked to 23-year-old Swedish defenseman Filip Roos as well.
If the Blackhawks are going to move someone off the blue line in this group, it would be to make room for the next wave of signed defensemen to get some run in the AHL. And there are three players with contracts who could be considered for those spots.
Age: 19 (DOB: April 28, 2003)
Ht/Wt: 6-2, 195
Acquired: 1st round (#32) – 2021 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $870,000
2021-22 Season: 7 goals, 34 assists in 65 games with Prince Albert (WHL)
Age: 21 (DOB: May 4, 2001)
Ht/Wt: 6-8, 220
Acquired: 7th round (#188) – 2020 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $850,833
2021-22 Season: 10 goals, 23 assists in 57 games with Quebec (QMJHL)
Ethan Del Mastro
Ht/Wt: 6-4, 205
Acquired: 4th round (#105) – 2021 NHL Draft
Cap Hit: $878,333
2021-22 Season: 7 goals, 41 assists in 68 games with Mississauga (OHL)
Also Playing Professionally:
- Michael Krutil (4th round, 2020) — 7 games in Rockford (AHL), 21 games with Växjö (SHL)
Remember when fans were crying about the size of the Blackhawks’ defensive depth? When the perception was that the Blackhawks were only drafting 5-9 puck-moving skaters for the back end? Now, you look up and down this list and see that only three of the nine defensive prospects signed are shorter than 6-2.
To be perfectly clear about these final three defensemen: Crevier and Del Mastro are not finished products, and Del Mastro could see another season in junior. They were late-round picks in the last couple drafts who have clearly impressed the organization enough to get a contract, but they’re in no way ready for the NHL. But the depth ahead of them in the organization will afford the front office time to let them get some professional games on their resumes and see what the team has in each of them.
Allan, the Hawks’ first-round pick last year, will have more eyes on him sooner because of his first-round pick status. But he, too, will get time to develop.
Again, two of these three are left-handed shooters; the Hawks have a need for more righties in the organization.
40 thoughts on “What Are The Blackhawks Doing On The Blue Line?”
excellent recap and thanks tab.
i am going to fallback to the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. not in signing elc contracts for lowly drafted prospects. a whole lot of smoke being blown up our asses about reichel this year and he hasn’t looked like he is ready for the bright lights. we are going to have to see a whole lot more from the defensive prospects before any of them is penciled in as a solution as a top four d-man.
mitchell a second round pick two years out of college who has yet to show he can be a top four d-man. a good year for him at rockford to be sure, but next year he has to step up. allan a third round rated guy who our “smartest guy in the room gm” bowman reached out to get on the first round. kalynuk and beaudein already appear to be yesterday’s news. galvas, phillips, del mastro, crevier, regula, and vlasic all performing better than what would have been expected from their draft positions, but all have a long way to go to. and none of those guys project to be a top pair d-man. looks a lot like a plenty of prospects for 4th, 5th, 6th , and 7th d-men. nothing wrong with that, but who is going to be the 2nd and 3rd guy to seth’s #l? it would be more surprising than not that any of the guys tab discussed will be the 2nd or 3rd guy. caleb and stillman won’t be those guys.
signing a quantity of prospects is all well and good, but where is the quality coming from? a long way to go for kd to fill in those skilled positions on the defense and the top six forwards.
HAWKS29 – I think you’re selling WAY short/early on Reichel.
nothing against reichel and i certainly have high hopes for him. but the hawks are selling him to the fans as a guy who is ready to step into a top six position next year. doesn’t appear he is quite ready for that yet. dach and boqvist were foisted on us before they were ready to play in the nhl. i am afraid the same will happen to reichel next year. looks to me like a guy who could use a very focused weight and muscle building program over the summer and a ticket to rockford next year for more seasoning.
Good breakdown Tab, lots of good info there. Allen and Del Mastro are bound by Chl agreement, they won’t be an option for Rfd. next year. Crevier drafted as an overager burnt the 1st year of his elc in juniors due to his age. He has 2 more years left and will be in Rfd. Krutil was over on a Ahl deal and sent back to develop in Europe, so the he has 2 more years before a decision has to be made whether to give him an elc. Roos likely be announced after May 1st, which seems to be enforced this year.
They usually carry a couple of D on an Ahl deal in Rfd., so 6 likely the max on an Nhl contract. Defintitely be a turnover in next 2 seasons especially if Kaiser decides to turn pro next spring as well.
Hawks29 saw a report where Reichel not going back to Germany in off season, so he can work on bulkong up to get ready for fall.
Wonder if Allen or Del Mastro sign an ato with Rfd. to be part of playoff roster.
thanks. good news on reichel. turns twenty in a month. i am sure he would love to be home with friends and family this summer. glad to see the dedication.
Surely there are teams with an unbalance in the opposite direction, which makes trading partners.
Next year for the hawks dmen
McCabe Seth Jones
7th vet dman
Do not qualify Caleb Jones
Rockford (Under Contract)
Isaak Phillips Filip Roos (Expected to sign elc)
Jakub Galvas Louis Crevier
Entry level deals that are slide eligible
Ethan Del Mastro
Expected signings next year
Question mark going forward
Not expected to sign
Not counting any young dman they draft this year
Great breakdown by everyone.
Reichel is undersized. However, last summer, you saw his dedication to the physical training. He knows, better than anyone, that he needs to put on some muscle weight. He’s 19 y/o. Having Kane has spoiled us. He was an underweight kid. However, Kane was a generational talent. Reichel will be a solid NHLer.
Defensively, only Ian Mitchell will determine whether or not he starts in the NHL. He’s done everything asked of him, in Rockford. He’s shored up his defensive game and his offensive aspect only got better. I like Kalynuk and I wish the kid would stay. We know that S. Jones, Murphy, and Stillman will be here…and good for Stillman. He got his shot here and he embraced it. McCabe? He was coming off a brutal knee injury. He’s going to be 2 years removed from it. I expect him to be faster, more mobile, and just better than this year. Will Caleb be here? I don’t know. Gustafsson? GONE!!! de Haan will be gone and I wish him nothing but the best. Vlasic and Regula will just get even better. I’m looking forward to a full season with them.
Offensively, I’m looking to see who will be here from Rockford. There’s 3 or 4 guys who have the potential to be here. Guys like Rolston, Slaggert, and Colton Dach will be intriguing.
Who will be here from FA or trade? Because there’s so many minor league defensemen, the deals could be interesting. I’m really hoping Davidson is the real deal and proves me wrong. I would have no problem with a mea culpa if Davidson really comes through.
Whose our #1 Goalie going forwards ?
1 Lankinen should be number 1 iff MAF doesn’t come back .
2 Délia . Why not ,iff he can play a 35 games next year then we will have a good idea .
Lottery coming soon. Hawks win ..the lottery…yesss.
Plus 2 picks in first 40 players available ,then 3 picks in Third round .
Maybe more iff they make a few trades .
Then in 23 ..2 first round pick and 2 second round pick .So far .
I hope the Hawks can find some good NHL players in this group. I am honestly not overly thrilled at the management group looking for a “type” of player because it devalues talented players who don’t fit your ideal. Case in point, DeBrincat probably should have been the third or fourth player taken his draft year, but the Hawks got him after every team passed him at least once…
I don’t think the problem the Hawks had was that they drafted too many small players, it is that they failed develop and keep talent they did draft.
Do a better job of identifying and developing talent, whatever size and things will work out.
This team is so bad offensively they may as well deploy 8 defenseman, Gustavsson and maybe whomever can adjust to playing wing for a few minutes a game. Yes ibwould play Gustavsson as left wing and let him fill in on defense on a pinhch ona bad team…sure.This is the best scenario I can offer. Why they haven’t at least deployed 7 defenseman is beyond me. I get you have to be warmed up, but let’s also note seth is playing 25 minutes a game.
Also I see a lot of McCabe bashing. His puck luck doesn’t seem to help him at all. Good defenseman sometimes develop in the minors. Give that a shot with many of these guys. Someone will be a huge score down the line. Fingers crossed.
It’s funny…this team has many options. They aren’t terribly bad off but wow the development sure has lacked. Richelieu buring a year was more a “you better step up ” than anything. Course give him somw time to bulk up and he’ll be solid.
Interesting if team who gets caleb may also be interested in seth in particular if Blackhawks eat part of cap hit. 25% snags ya some picks
In my opinion, we already have 4 defensemen for next year.
Seth and Vlasic
McCabe and Regula
It’s the 3rd line pairing that we need to sort out. I think Mitchell might be the 5th defensemen or he could be used in a trade. The same goes for Murphy, except he needs to play to show that he is over his concussions. Murphy could also go on LTIR. Stillman is the enigma here. Prior to getting hurt, he was starting to play really well. So, I think it goes…
Mitchell and Stillman with Caleb Jones as the 7th and Murphy either traded or LTIR. With Phillips coming soon-next!
Tommy, i think you’re pretty close there. Murphy has trade value and age doesn’t work well for this process, although i think ltir is a bit of a stretch yet. If they feel confident Regula and Mitchell are Nhl ready enough to fill 2nd/3rd pair on rightside D as they appear to be, makes even more sense to move Murphy. Crevier is a right shot depth in Rfd., plus if he needs time, Roos is a big, 6’4″ 22 year old mobile Dman who played alot on rightside in Shl from what i can gather, would give them another depth option there. With really no youngsters jumping out as looking to need a spot on left side except Vlassic out of camp, McCabe , Stillman and S. Jones could all comeback. All 3 have played the right point in situational play this year, for short notice depth on right point. No reason to think Regula can’t fill Murphys spot, him, Mitchell, Vlassic may need a little time and show few growing pains yet but time is on their side right now. Hope they keep giving Vlassic ice time with S. Jones, may have something there to stick with.
Caleb Jones has been decent this season, but there may be no room for him. If there is any way to move both Murphy and McCabe, then do it. Both have had rough years and are not kids. I would rather see some younger guys making the mistakes that McCabe has been making this season, with the hope of learning and improvement. Beaudin has been kind of a disappointment, even in Rockford. The team is a mess, and will be for a while. However, Regula and Vlasic have been bright spots, two guys who are definitely eager to play every game.
It’s not because Vlasic and Regula has a good start that they are ready for NHL ,we have to remember that they are kids and they will have bad games .. they have 26 games (the 2 players )played so far .reminds me off last year when Kalynuk had a good start and some guys here though he was the new super star ,where is he now ?
He his on the trading list off the same guys who thought he would become Kris Letang or Cale Makar .same with Beaudin ,same with Mitchell. Dmen needs a few years to develop not a few games .their is exceptions but they are rare . Here is a rare exception…Duncan Keith was a star in WHL and he had to learn the professional Game with 2full year in Rockford Then he had 2 more year in NHL before becoming a NHL future all off Fame . Now let’s talk about Murphy, we need guys like him to help the team and to help the kids grow. He his no doubts in my mind the best DMan defensively on the team . Plus he is very affordable and reliable.
Phillips is the one that I am looking lately because he his getting a lot off games in Rockford and very young at 20 and growing slowly but steady plus he his solid with 9goals 21 pts in is first full AHL season .he his a long shot and nobody is really looking at him ,could be a surprise. Hopefully Nolan can get good playoff games under his belt in WHL.
regardless of where the team picks, if the scouting staff does its job we find the talent this team needs to move foreward. our picks up front the past couple of years with dach and reichel from a performance and skill set overview appears these two were overrated and not worth first round status, early returns reflect bad choices at the draft table, or too urgent/deserate a rush to put them in the lineup. the team still needs kane and debrincat to build a new foundation of players up front, toews appears to be another story, clearly dissatisfied with the teams direction, his leadership on the ice, and performance shows he wants to be moved. looking towards a lottery win appears to be the teams focus now, watching them play out the season is becoming more painful every game.
2010 agree absolutely defenseman need a few years to reach their potential. One difference with Kalynuk was as i mentioned at times late last year and over summer was, he came up and made a big splash right away. As time went on and more was asked of him when Keiths year ended with concussion issue, Boqvist and Dehaans seasons ended early, he struggled down the stretch defensively. Rrgula and Vlassic on the other hand progressed slowly and have responded positively as more responsibility has been given to them.
Keith as a 22 year old rookie played 81 games averaging 23:26 mins. per game and never averaged under 23 mins a game until this season in his career.
Mitchell is 23, Regula 22 this summer and Vlassic will be 21 this summer look ready for next step. If Vlassic needs a little bit in Rfd., that’s ok, maybe Kalynuk signs his qo and gets a chance to showcase for a trade when he’s there, keeping his spot for him. Another 2 or 3 spots between Nhl and Ahl rosters are going to be needed cleared for next too.
This Bad Coaching is a real problem… Seems like King just “stands there like a statue” & players decide on ice what to do… No “game plan” or accountability on assignments when blown.
The Ice Capade figure 8 skating needs to stop…
Watch how other opposing team plays against us & watch our response in our play against them.
Same Mistakes in team play should begin to wind down after 10-20 games… Not continue going into game #79.
Love the Hawks here, but really frustrated in the team culture I see by this team on the ice.
“ When have have an oppertunity to check someone and you don’t, when you get back to the bench,explain to me why you didn’t”.
Herman, agree definitely need to look more like a team out and as you say be willing to do what has to be done before that happens.
As for your goalie question, i think a good healthy competition for no. 1 between Lankinen and Soderblom, where they are pushing the bar for each other to be better would be best case, hopefully it can happen. If Commesso does turn out to be the no. 1 when his time comes being solid in goal, not a wells dry until he arrives situation and developing a couple of potential assets in the meantime is a good thing.
Thanks Tab – great breakdown
I think Murphy gets traded – he has value especially given his contract – I’d rather they trade McCabe but who would want him although there is a chance he’s better next year
Maybe Murphy can get a 2022 first rounder in return or a decent forward prospect
Assuming one of 5 or 6 is dealt that leaves Seth McCabe (probably) and Stillman as on NHL roster taking 3 of 7 spots
I’d re-sign Caleb so that’s 4
I think Regula is ready that’s 5
Mitchell probably at least starts in CHI whether he stays or not so that’s 6
Roos or Vlasic may also be ready so that’s 7
I don’t think KD needs to sign a vet – just keep rotating guys like Caleb Stillman possibly Roos through the line up
Hopefully some of these D men develop into mainstays for when Hawks are playoff bound next
Sad to watch this team this season as they really have alot of talent (not enuf obviously), but play sooooo dumb with they chasing the puck syndrome on D…. Then very seldom really cycling the puck on Offense… Kane has puck ALWAYS and he’s looking to pass to statues who are covered… pffffffff
Opening Scramble tomorrow,
Time to rake in some cash.
Sloppy offensive first period. Should have scored a few times.
Tab. Great article
How about the same type article on the upcoming offensive kids
Yeah… I cannot wait for 4 goal Lankinen betwen the pipes next year.
Love his ability to:
1. not challenge a shooter
2. swim like Michael Phelps after he loses his net.
3. show he has more leaks than a Motel 6 bathroom faucet.
4. Not battle thru a screen to find the shooter or the puck, just merely hold his positioning, hoping the puck hits him.
Yeah. Any knowledgeable hockey fan definitely wants that between the pipes, right?
To point number 4……how many times did we see #50 NOT do that and stop the puck?
When you get to 100, you can stop counting.
Turned the game off at 3-0. GOLF in the early morning takes precedence!!
Perimeter, Thanks for the very accurate description of the Hawks #1 Goaltender. He is a disaster and shows no improvement at all. Worst rebound control and body control that I have seen from an NHL goalie in years. Let’s have Delia hydrate himself properly and take the net for the last few games.
Hawks are doing well to stockpile defensemen. With the probability that Kaner will want finish his career on a contender, the Hawks will have to rely primarily on defense to have a chance of winning. That will require a solid goalie. Lankinen does not come close. Especially with the Hawks having a tradition for finding great goalies.
Kubalik for Georgiev is a win win
JR, Kubalik for a bag of pucks and a few sticks is a win at this point. At some point it’s not a matter of puck luck and is more of a matter of you are just not top 2 line type of material.
Tyler Johnson’s post game comments about the Hawks playing as individuals and not as a team and making poor decisions with the puck and that when they play teams with structure they lose sure sounded like a searing indictment of the coaching staff
There was the strong implication that the Hawks don’t play with structure
We all know that but for one of the players to so strongly imply that to the media to say it publicly aloud makes me think that the players think about as highly of the coaching job King is doing as most of us do
And that’s not very high
Wrap that’s one thing i look forward to with season ending, is no more of King’s poor me pressers after the games. Hoped when given interim title he would emerge as a strong candidate to be permanent coach, onviously not. While i’d still like to see a Zettler type, with some experience, really starting to believe the reason Brian Campbell’s prominent role in KDs inner circle hasn’t been announced is because he will be named new head coach. He watches practices from the booth with KD and will have good grasp on who he wants to keep around next season. Agree with Silent that maybe this opened their eyes to the fact King is not the guy for Rfd. either.
Hossa not saying yet what his role is going to be may be part of a new coaching staff as well, or maybe he would prefer to be closer to home and take scouting developmental role in europe or something. Expect all or at least most of main coaching staff to be replaced.
With the exception of S. Jones, KD and new coach will have ability in the next year to decide who stays, who goes. Alot of the roster now are fillers until younger players displace them, so he has the ability to make it his team, without rushing youngsters to the pros.
I would love to see the knights not making the playoffs so our third round from them would be a better Pick . Plus I don’t like that team since they kick Fleury out.
Most likely what the balls tel us on Msy 10th will impact the approach to next season. If Blackhawks are not in lotto pick game next season because they got lucky this year, good chance finishing outside of the bottom 11 so Cbj doesn’t have a chance at 1st overall could be their target. May have a bearing on who gets another chance and who doesn’t on current roster.
Big game today boys. Thou I did pick them to win tonight a loss wouldn’t be too upsetting. A lose could get a a better chance at Wright. Best natural position is number three and definitely not out of the realm. Jumps up to an 11.5% at #1 pick.
If we get #2 over all still think we can entice Columbus into taking #2 overall this year and TB’s #1 in ’24 for their #1 this year and our number #1 next year back.
Respectfully, I can’t get on board with KD wanting to make an effort to keep Columbus from getting a top pick with our #1 next year if we win the lottery this year. That seems vindictive, if not immature for Kyle to do. I would hope he doesn’t change plans and try to be a middling team simply for spite, or cutting off our nose to spite our face so to speak.
The plan should be about the same regardless of whose pick it is next year, though I could understand laying a bit lower to help ourselves next year. But that is very different than taking a path that could set us back by playing players to be better to “punish” someone for making a trade with us that worked out well for them.
Remember- we lose position in all subsequent rounds too, not just the first round if play to prevent a high pick for Columbus. My gosh, the Walldogs will be all over KD for picking in the middle of the 2nd round and losing access to a stud player who gets drafted 40th. Or did we also promise our 2nd round to CLB too???
Now that I think about it, the Walldogs will be here whining and crying anyway.
SS, lol some ways i have hard time agreeing with myself on that, thought of the other rounds too, the possibility of trades and moving up or adding picks quite possibly takes the sting off the later rounds. Wasn’t thinking so much of being spiteful as i was meaning the approach could be different, a little more toward a winning culture without pressure trying to be a playoff team, chances are there will be a reset(s) at some point, more often than not rebuilds go through that process too before it all comes together.
Yes Ian. I agree a culture change will definitely be needed somewhere along the line. I’m hoping it gets instituted in Rockford starting as soon as they end their current season, be it with a championship or a shallow run in the playoffs. We need to build a better work ethic and winning culture there, and have it bubble up into our NHL team as we develop some players who can be the building blocks of the future. If every time we have camp before the season we see the kids working their behinds off to make the big club, it will also impact the NHL players. I don’t think there has been enough of that lately. We’ve been forcing players to the NHL team rather have them earn and be ready for it.
That Rockford coach hire is more important to me than who is running the NHL club next year.