Does the Blackhawks' Draft Position Change the Direction of Next Season's Roster?
Since taking over as general manager, Kyle Davidson has done a great job at stockpiling picks for the coming years. From 2023 to 2025, the Blackhawks currently have six first round picks, eight second round picks, and five third round picks. The team also had three first round picks, two second round picks, and three third round picks in 2022. Now that quite a few picks have been acquired for the next few drafts, should this season's draft position change the direction of next season's roster?
If the Blackhawks win the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, adding a player of that caliber to the roster could very well cause them to begin making strong additions to the team via free agency. This would put an already somewhat competitive team in place for when other prospects like Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar, and Drew Commesso are finished developing as well as the players selected with the future picks.
Think similarly to how the Detroit Red Wings began adding to their roster in free agency this past offseason by signing players like Andrew Copp, David Perron, Dominik Kubalik, Ben Chiarot, and Olli Maatta. They felt comfortable making those moves because they believed their future core was complete and wanted a strong supporting cast to already be in tact for when those core members are finished developing. They, like the Blackhawks, still have many draft picks in the next few years as well.
If the Blackhawks do not win the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, they should still get to select an elite talent in the draft anyway somewhere between second and fifth overall. They may be a huge impact player for the franchise for a very long time, but they will not be viewed as a "generational talent" like Connor Bedard. It cannot be stressed enough that this is no ordinary draft and that most years, changing the direction of the following season's roster would be ridiculous to even talk about. That is the margin of talent between Connor Bedard and any other prospect. If the franchise ends up without the first overall pick, Davidson would be foolish to start signing free agents like Detroit did last offseason.
It will be interesting to see how this pivotal offseason goes and how the rest of Kyle Davidson's rebuild comes together. Will he stick to his plan of a four to six year full scale rebuild, or might he change his plans based on how things plays out? Crazier things have happened.