The signing of Kevin Korchinski begins the next era of Chicago Blackhawks hockey, and the potential legacy of Kyle Davidson.
Kevin Korchinski, the Chicago Blackhawks' seventh overall selection in the 2022 draft will enter the NHL in a couple of years, but the expectations that will follow him for his entire career will be daunting. Kyle Davidson believes that Korchinski would be more valuable than Alex Debrincat in the long term... And this, as it has been speculated already, will Davidson's first major gamble of his career and the one that will forever determine his success as general manager.
Sure, there is a lot to like about Korchinski. He skates amazingly, is an offensive dynamo on defense, takes hits like a champ, has height, and projects to be a top-two defenseman. However, that is not what he will be expected to be for the Blackhawks fan base... Most likely. When you trade a superstar in what is honestly a one-for-one deal for a prospect, the prospect will be expected to offer as much if not more for the team. Korchinski will be expected to be a number 1 defenseman for the Blackhawks who can dominate on both ends of the ice.
Kyle Davidson has decided to build a team that follows his vision: Fast, high work ethic, and responsible on both ends of the ice. He has allowed Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik to walk because they don't fit the new identity. With that said... Alex Debrincat did fit the mold here but we know that he was, after Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks' most valuable piece. Everyone expected more in a return for Debrincat... But all the Blackhawks really got was Kevin Korchinski.
I will be rooting for the kid like every Blackhawks fan, but I will also have high expectations and expect Korchinski to develop into a Cale Makar type defenseman with comparable impact. If he doesn't become a top-defenseman in the league like Alex Debrincat is a top-scorer in the league then the trade wasn't worth it. AND the trade will likely set the Blackhawks back another decade in the rebuild given that they have no one to build around.
What does this mean? Well, quite simply Kyle Davidson has bet his job on Kevin Korchinski's success. Davidson's legacy will be tied to this trade as well given that he traded an established superstar for a promising prospect only. Even if the Chicago Blackhawks win a Stanley Cup in the future, or, hopefully, replicate their decade of dominance, if Korchinski is not a large part of the rise back to contention the thought would be "How good would the Blackhawks be if they kept Alex Debrincat?"