Does Connor Bedard Speed Up the Rebuild for the Blackhawks?
By Brandon Howe
The #1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft belongs to the Blackhawks, and they will have the opportunity to draft their new face of the franchise. All of Chicago is hoping he will be the catalyst to a potentially long rebuild, but there is still a long way to go before this team can start competing for anything. So, the big question that Kyle Davidson will have to answer... what's next?
The potential to add the most coveted prospect in hockey since Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby is certainly exciting. The fan base needs to have cautious expectations regarding the success of this team over the next few seasons. This draft will undoubtedly make this team more fun to watch regardless of if it results in wins.
Conveniently enough, the Hawks are in a similar boat as the Bears this season. Wins aren't necessarily the only determining factor in gauging a successful season, seeing growth and promise from their new young stars will be at the forefront.
Speaking of new young stars, this team is still in desperate need of more of those. The Hawks are still at least another draft or two (after this year's draft) from being finished with this rebuild. Kyle Davidson needs to stay the course and not sacrifice long term assets and prospects for short term success. I've seen people claiming that the rebuild is going to be accelerated due to the arrival of Bedard. While he is an amazing starting point, there is still much to be done.
Stanley Cup caliber teams are not built overnight, they take time. We've seen multiple teams undergo long rebuilds and understand how long of a process it can be. It seems like teams such as Buffalo and Arizona have been rebuilding forever, and to avoid that same fate, the Hawks need to take their time and do this the right way the first time.
With that being said, it seems like we finally have the right GM in town and I (currently) believe in Kyle Davidson's process. He seems to have a good understanding of what this team needs, and it is refreshing to have a clear direction after the past years of the "rebuilding or contender" confusion that Stan Bowman gave us. We already have some exciting young prospects such as Kevin Korchinski, Lukas Reichel, and Frank Nazar. The Hawks will be able to add some exciting new players this year and in the next draft, and by then, I think this team could be in a position to start winning.