What Should We Expect From Kyle Davidson?

Today is the first day Kyle Davidson wakes up as the permanent general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. Officially.

Yesterday, we listened to him speak as he was introduced in that role. He talked about the team re-entering a rebuild; something Stan Bowman said they were going to embark on a couple years ago and then decided to throw the plan out and spend like a mad man last summer. Bowman’s attempt at buying bandaids for the dysfunctional roster he assembled has failed miserably, and now Davidson has been tasked with piecing together the future of the organization.

So what should we expect from Davidson?

In the short-term — the incredibly immediate short-term — we know that Davidson has less than three weeks before the trade deadline. And he’s now going to build a support staff around him to change the culture of the Blackhawks’ front office.

We should expect some movement, but I caution fans to want the future of the franchise to be corrected with a couple deals. The pipeline is stocked full of interesting pieces on the blue line but there isn’t much forward depth in the organization. And game-changing forwards don’t grow on trees; Davidson has a lot of work to do.

My understanding is that everyone is available. Everyone.

Now, again, let’s hit the pause button. The cost to acquire Alex DeBrincat or Brandon Hagel will rightfully be incredibly high. But if a team is willing to step up with the kind of offer that is at least intriguing for either of them, the Blackhawks should at least listen. Remember: people laughed at the Dallas Cowboys when they traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings and that trade led them to multiple Super Bowls.

But this roster has too many flaws to solve through the current group of assets.

So, before the trade deadline, let’s patiently watch Davidson do his new job. The good news is he has been in the role for a few months and can now start having more substantial, real conversations with other teams. He might not make every trade we want to see now, but we will learn a lot about his vision for the franchise with the deals he does make.

In the mid-term, the upcoming NHL Draft has some potential. And the Blackhawks might not have their own first-round pick any longer (assuming no miracle in the lottery), but they could move back into the first round via trade between now and the draft. How Davidson uses his picks will also show us a lot about what he values in prospects — and how he maneuvers his way around the draft if/when trades become possible.

In the long-term, Davidson needs some time to turn this ship around. He’s going to bail water for a while, but he now has the job of returning this franchise to the glory we experienced with the dynasty of the previous decade. It isn’t impossible to turn a franchise back into a contender; we’ve seen it before. But we need to allow ourselves to at least give him the opportunity to establish himself as the general manager of the team.

Who is Kyle Davidson as a general manager? We’ll learn more about that starting today.

23 thoughts on “What Should We Expect From Kyle Davidson?

  • March 2, 2022 at 9:06 am

    Give the guy some time. As Tab and others have mentioned, this isn’t a quick fix. Sounds like he will have the latitude to do what he feels is necessary without anyone in the organization second guessing him. We need a proper rebuild, done correctly. Stockpile draft picks, stay away from free agents for a few years. Define the kind of team you want, get the players, and then the best coach to develop them. Go hawks!!!!!

  • March 2, 2022 at 9:10 am

    I held off, a day, before commenting. Davidson’s body language shows me that he is not ready for this. He lacks confidence. It’s visually right there for all to see. The Wirtz Familia thrust him upon us because they can control him. Will that lack of confidence drive him to make the best deals possible to prove he’s not just a patsy for The Familia? We’ll see. I wish I could talk to any one of the former Blackhawk players that were, allegedly, instrumental in choosing Davidson. I don’t buy that they had any say. Being a 40+ year follower/fan of The Blackhawks organ-I-zation, this is an obvious tactic. Just like last years female dominated draft announcers and all the “woke” b.s. coming from this organ-I-zation. I want to be honest. I hope I am wrong. I hope this guy makes all the right moves and brings this team back from the ashes. He’ll have a small window with the TDL right around the corner. Does MAF go to Edmonton for a 1st Rd Pick in 2022? How much of this defense will be dealt to usher in the kids from Rockford? How many forwards are out the door and what will be the return? Stay tuned. A totally unproven GM that shows very little confidence, in my opinion, is in charge. Buckle up Hawks fans. Maybe put on a helmet too. This is gonna get rough in a hurry. Out.

  • March 2, 2022 at 9:20 am

    Let’s help him and give him some ideas.
    MAF to MN for a #1 Turgeon and Stevens. Would be great if it’s a reincarnation of Pierre and Kevin.

  • March 2, 2022 at 9:26 am

    We’ll know within 3 weeks how this start will look and then during the offseason. Yes, he “said” rebuild which shocked me. It will be interesting to see what happens up to the TDL and then what happens after and then the offseason. This will get a lot worse before it gets better so I’m wondering how ownership will react when they see more empty seats for this year before it gets any better. Time to get new grips on the golf clubs.

  • March 2, 2022 at 9:48 am

    Tab if the main goal is to do a rebuild of the on ice product, then i’m all in. I just don’t get the impression that is the priority right now anyways. They say it has to be done right but passed on a chance to bring in some solid off pieces over last few months to get the process started and instead offer with an inexperienced Gm and alot of questions who will be around him. That doesn’t show me a desire to do it right, in fact many believe they already got it wrong. There were a couple of statements that peaked our interest, such as, rebuld not retool, 3 to 5 years whatever it takes, no surprises for 19 and 88 but left us with more questions, without any real insight to what that means. Teams are signing unsigned free agents from juniors that started yesterday, in a year where alot of gems could be available because of lack of scouting last couple of years, i guess hitting the ground running didn’t mean that as it wasn’t evened mentioned as something they are showing interest in. I was hopeful and onboard but after yesterday i’m a long way from confident their priority is to putting a winning team together any time soon.

  • March 2, 2022 at 10:10 am

    Ian – I hear ya I’m not optimistic either

    To me if they were serious about getting back to being competitive they would have hired Darche – hiring KD seems to indicate
    they’ll tread water for a while while he learns how to be an NHL GM

    Hope I’m wrong – TDL will be first indication of where KD wants to take this team and if he can do it without any experience

    There will be other indicators between now and the fall – I’ll give him to October to show that maybe I’m wrong

  • March 2, 2022 at 10:30 am

    Yes – trade deadline means a lot this year and can show us what KD is thinking rebuild means. Unfortunately it takes 2 to trade and if the market doesn’t want what we are selling, then we will either not trade or appear to get fleeced. MAF appears to hold all the cards with his future, not KD. That’s on Bowman, and something I personally feared in comments here. Bowman should/would have been fired at some point after the debacle of this season had he not encountered his fate already. We could end up with what only appears to be minor moves this TDL when we all what serious team disruption. The summer season may be where the hard work gets done.

    We have some good resources on this board with Ian knowing contract ins and outs. I ask Ian to please consider spending some time explaining what buyouts for Tyler Johnson, McCabe and Murphy could look like, and how trades with retained salary for those players are restricted.

    We have Connolly also for next year I believe. Khaira too. We will need some veteran leadership, but with Kane, Cat, and possibly Toews – maybe not too many more vets. I believe any vet next year needs to be on an expiring contract so movement is easier and definite. Any signing like the Seth Jones one would be difficult for me to understand at this point.

    Counting on Craig N to be respected as he shares insights here. Please keep your thoughts and info coming.

  • March 2, 2022 at 10:33 am

    Ian . Agree with your comments. I want to see who he hires ( if anyone) to help him with this so called re build.

  • March 2, 2022 at 10:59 am

    Tab – I’d love to hear what you think about Alex Vlasic. I agree that game changing forwards don’t grow on trees, but this kid looks awfully interesting to me. 20 year old Chicago boy at 6’6″ 210lbs – good skater, he sounds like the kind of player we need more of. From what I’m reading about him, he seems to have really turned the corner this year at Boston U with the physical aspect of his game. He has only 8 points in 31 games so far, but that will change. Of course the Hawks have to sign him first, so we’ll see.

  • March 2, 2022 at 11:25 am

    @Ian…. if this doesn’t sound exactly like Stan then I’m confused. JC was the “great communicator”

    Davidson on Derek King:

    “[Derek King is] going to get a firsthand practical interview, just like I had. One thing I’m looking for is an elite communicator. Communication is so important now, especially with players.”

    Two words come to mind

    Casey Jones

  • March 2, 2022 at 11:28 am

    Yes the puppet master is Wirtz and the puppet is Davidson. He will follow orders. This rebuild in a major market is no small task and will take 3 to 4 years. Trading Cat or Hagel is off the table. Kane is the franchise only draw so he can’t go anywhere and can not be replaced. ! Toews is toast let him go, yesterday. In any trade what do ya think they get in return? High draft choices that might no pan out and if they do could take 4 to 5 years in development. The need to build an identity first and embrace a stye of play that is quicker, more aggressive in the O -zone and get psychically bigger = hard to play against. Dach needs a serious workout program, BULK UP or trade him! Too many palyers weak in the corners and don’t play well in traffic. Amen

  • March 2, 2022 at 11:40 am

    SS, i’ll try my best. Teams are allowed 3 retained salaries on the books at any one time. Blackhawks have none as yet for next year, the most they can retain is 50% of salary/ caphit of any contract, meaning they retain the amount every year until contract is done. That maximum amount retained would be.

    T. Johnson 5m- 2.5m 2yrs. retained max
    C. Murphy 4.4m- 2.2m 4yrs retained max
    J. McCabe 4m- 2m 3yrs retained max
    B. Connelly 3.5m- 1.75m 1yr retained max

    Buyouts are paid out over twice remaining yrs of contract, a formula based on age, salary structure is used to calculate it with no limits on how many each team can have on the books. Murphy and S. Jones are on expiring contracts so regular buyout period ends before new deals officially begin so they aren’t eligible until 2023 for a regular buyout, their buyouts would be roughly 1.5m range for either one, 8 yrs for Murphy and 14 for S. Jones next year . This summer it would be.
    McCabe yr 1 &2 -1.445m, yr 3- .445m yr 4-6 1.445m
    T.Johnson yr 1- 2.667m yr 2- 1.667m. yr 3&4- 1.417m
    Connelly yr1 & 2- 1.667m

    Likely at this point only Connelly and T. Johnson be serious candidates for buyouts, others be later in contracts with declined performance before they would go buyput route with them. Khaira could be waived and full caphit buried in minors for depth if they wanted so no need to really do anything else with him.
    Certainly the possiblity of retaining up to 50% of any 3 from 88, 19, 5, and 6 is there to help make a trade happen. Plus the 2 buyouts and buried salary goves ootions to open up alot of roster spots next year. Hope that helps you.

  • March 2, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    That’s a tremendous help for me and the board. Thanks for doing that.

    Now the ideas can be tossed around here, and there is a set of rules by which we can see KD is forced to work.

    We all want the same thing here I think.

  • March 2, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    Nice job Ian. Maybe KD can read your comment because I doubt, he even knows that yet. I’ll give the kid thru the offseason to see what he accomplishes but I don’t think Season Ticket Holders will put up with a 3-5 year rebuild in an apprenticeship program when an experienced person could probably do it much quicker and efficiently plus not having Danny look over his shoulder every day. I really doubt in my lifetime ever seeing us back to the glory days. Good comments from everybody the last couple of days.

  • March 2, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    As fans of the Hawks, we have no choice but to be patience with KD. However, it frustrates me when the Wirtz family plays us for fools. The statement in Tab’s article that got me thinking was “How Davidson uses his picks will also show us a lot about what he values in a prospect and how he maneuvers his way around the draft if/when he trades become possible”. That is a very telling statement. Seeing that the KD has spent most of career in hockey operations administrations. Has he had any player evaluation experience besides being a video intern? The TDL is coming up quickly, who will he be referring to for advice, stats and guidance? At least Stanley had Pappa Scotty. KD will have to use the scouts and staff in place and will be learning on the job and in most situations that requires additional time. The patience we will need will be longer than we expect or want. I wish KD the best but he will be paddling up stream with half a paddle thanks to the family.

    FYI, if you go to Wikipedia and look up KD, his occupation history will not appear today. It was removed yesterday by someone. Below is a screen shot from 3 days ago. Hawks spin machine?????

    Chicago Blackhawks
    Hockey / Video Analyst 2010–2011
    Coordinator for Ice Hockey Administration 2011–2015
    Head of Ice Hockey Administration 2015–2017
    Senior Head of Ice Hockey Administration 2017–2018
    Assistant to general manager 2018–2019
    Assistant general manager 2019–present
    Interim general manager

  • March 2, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you for that breakdown. It gives all of us a real idea of what can be done and what it would cost. McCabe, T. Johnson, and Connolly are easy buyouts. Murphy and S. Jones are staying… and that’s fine. Up front is where the rubber is going to meet the road. I don’t have any worries about the defense. There’s a plethora of candidates from Rockford and with Stillman and C. Jones. Whoever doesn’t make the team or is not in the teams future, ala Beaudin, there’s trade value there. Although I don’t know how much. His stock has fallen so far. I actually feel bad for the kid.

    It’s the offense. My opinion, the Blackhawks could take a page from Vegas. gather a boat load of solid players who battle and contribute. 4 lines of constant pressure can wear teams down. It may also be a bit cheaper on the pocketbook. It’s here where Hagel’s value can really be seen. Guys like Entwistle, Lafferty, and R. Johnson could flourish. I think Carpenter will be dealt. He’s a veteran who can be used on the 3rd and 4th lines and on the PK. He’s a definite asset to a playoff bound team.

    I do think that Toews is at the end of his playing days. However, that may be a hidden asset for this team. Hire him on as an Assistant or even as a HC. He knows the game. He has the respect of the team. It would be a seamless transition. If this is indeed a “rebuild”, there’s no better guy than Toews. Just an outisde thought.

  • March 2, 2022 at 4:32 pm

    Another issue happening is the next wave of young dmen will coming to Rfd. working their way to Nhl. Crevier already signed to elc and coming off a good season in juniors will definitely be in Rfd. next season, sounding like Vlassic could sign his elc this spring as well and be in Rfd. next year. Allen signed to an elc, can and be no surprise if goes back to juniors next year for his final year then be in Rfd. in 2023. Del Mastro will probably go back to juniors for his final next year and needs signed before June 2023 to retain his rights. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them offer him an elc in fall, where his contract can slide and he can get paid his signing bonus as a little incentive to sign, then go to Rfd. in in 2023. Kaiser with 2 more years of Ncaa eligibilty, could also like Vlassic if he signs this year, sign next year and forego a year. These guys have the potential that could make the blue line a very strong core in a few years, so hopefully he gets the ones needing signed done without losing them.

    Almost have to think one of Murphy or McCabe will be moved this summer and depending on progression of current crew in Rfd. the other could be gone in another year.

  • March 2, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    I forgot about the other offensive players.

    Kane may or may not be here. We’ll see. He can bring a legit 1st Rd. Pick and players.
    Strome. His FO% has definitely upped his trade value. If this is a rebuild, he’s a 2nd line center. No more than that. If he’s traded? Possibly a 2nd Rd Pick and maybe a 3rd. No 1st Rd in there. Maybe a minor league prospect too.
    Dach. If he beefs up and gets serious, at the RW, he can be salvaged.
    DeBrincat. He’s a keeper for sure.
    Kurashev is out the door as a throw in for any trade.

  • March 2, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    I see the same thing for the young defensive players. I’m not worried about the defense either now or in the future. It’s actually something that Stan Bowman accidentally did pretty well with.

  • March 2, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    Apologies for the misinformed comment earlier. Vlasic is a Dman, of course, Doh!

  • March 3, 2022 at 6:27 am

    After watching the blah-blah-blah news conference – it was apparent that everyone was well versed on buzz words with zero concrete revelations. It was also apparent that smiley face Rocky still has his thumb on everything in the organ-eye-zation. Danny is well spoken, but it was obvious that he was reading from a teleprompter. Rocky has complete controls over him too. Davidson appears to be nothing more than a Wirtz patsy puppet that knows how to say yes sir – no sir & was probably the reason he got the job. Time will tell if he has the latitude, confidence, & balls to stand up to the “business as usual” family. Shit ain’t gonna happen overnight, & declining attendance over the next 3 – 5 years will raise a beer & hotdog to somewhere around $100. ;)

  • March 3, 2022 at 7:01 am

    Yup time to give him the chance to do his work-the mistrust is justified but there is a need to be fair to him.

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