Do the Chicago Blackhawks have their "Jared Bednar" in Luke Richardson?

Crystal Ball...
St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks
St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

It may be easy to appreciate Jared Bednar as a coach these days, with a Stanley Cup ring, the respect of his team, and a calm demeanor behind the bench. However let's take a step back for a moment in comparison to the Blackhawks current coaching hierarchy. Previously a head coach in the AHL for the Lake Erie Monsters, Bednar led them to a Calder Cup championship in the 2015-16 season and then was named head coach of the Colorado Avalanche (Stanley Cup Champions in 2022).

Bednar, a native of Yorktown in Saskatchewan, is a 6'3 former minor league hockey defenseman. After going undrafted in the NHL Draft, he would bounce around between the ECHL, WHL, AHL, and even the IHL. While never making it to the NHL he played well over 600 games between these 4 leagues.

Similarly Luke Richardson is a former defenseman (6'4) that has a long career (albeit within the NHL as a highly drafted player) and has put in his time as a coach (since the 2009-10 season with Ottawa as well as time in the AHL as a head coach). Like Bednar, Richardson has inherited a team that is looking to build a winning franchise via the NHL Draft. In Jared Bednar's first season the Avalanche finished a league worst year with just 48 points. Not only that, but they were rewarded by losing out on the top 3 picks and selected 4th. That pick would end up being Cale Makar though.

The following season the Avs would make a miraculous playoff push (last team in with 95 points) followed by yet again a last team in finish (90pts). In the 4th year however the Avs would break through and had a .657 point % for the shortened season and finish as the 3rd best team in the league. After some tough playoff loses over the next couple seasons the Avs would find their resolve to claim the Stanley Cup just 2 years ago.

This was a long journey to hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup, though the fortitude that the organization showed after that first dreadful season under a young coach showed a good blueprint perhaps for the Chicago Blackhawks. Could the carrer, and fortunes of the Blackhawks, of Luke Richardson mirror that of Jared Bednar? Time will certainly tell, but so far they seem to align quite similarly.

Luke Richardson
Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

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