Could the NHL Playoffs Teach Kyle Davidson how to Build a Cup Winning Blackhawks Roster?

Chicago Blackhawks Morning Skate
Chicago Blackhawks Morning Skate / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Tomorrow the Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin, although the Chicago Blackhawks won't be involved, there is a good opportunity for the Hawks' management team to see what is winning games these days in the modern NHL.

The Dallas Stars and the New York Rangers, the two number one seeds in each conference, are built with a good mixture of drafted players as well as free agent signings. Other top seeded teams however, like Carolina, Colorado, and Winnipeg, have won in the NHL based on their "hit ratio" on top 2 round draft selections.

So while adding an Artemi Panarin or Joe Pavelski via free agency has enhanced the Rangers and Stars into elite contention status, the drafting skill of the management teams from the Canes, Avs, and Jets have made those teams into what they are today.

The defending Cup champion Golen Knights though, have built their roster in an aggressive way that not alot of teams emulate. While drafting good young players throughout their short tenure, the Knights have elected to quickly move those players for established veterans. Sometimes it works out to their favor, as in Erik Bransstrom's development vs the production of Mark Stone. Other times however it appears that they might want a re-do, like in wishing they had a Nick Suzuki on the roster instead of a now departed Max Pacioretty. Still, the end result of a Stanley Cup can not be debated, it worked for them.

So which pathway could / should Kyle Davidson take in continuing to shape the Blackhawks' roster? Will he stay on course and build through the draft? Perhaps mix in some big veteran free agent signings in the future? Or could he go "all in" and trade off valuable young propsects in order to get more sure things via veteran top 6 and top 4 NHL commodities....

Thus far it's clear, Davidson and the Hawks appear set to draft and acquire 1st and 2nd round picks in order to build a long term core group of players. These playoffs, starting tomorrow, could show the young general manager, just what is winning in today's NHL though. Will a roster built from the draft, one with signings, or one via mostly trades win this year? Time will tell, but one thing is certain: It's anyones Cup in one of the more wide open fields in some time.

Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews
Pittsburgh Penguins v Chicago Blackhawks / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

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