The days of the dynasty era Blackhawks are now a thing of the past. There is no more "holding out hope" of a re-worked roster around aging stalwarts like Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, or Patrick Kane. There is only the present... and presently the Blackhawks have nothing but time.
Connor Bedard is now the face of the franchise. At 18 years old (young for the draft class, Adam Fantilli turned 19 over 2 months ago and Leo Carlsson will turn 19 in 10 days) Bedard has a bright future ahead. The question seems to be though, how long will it take the organization to place a competitve roster around our newly minted "face of the franchise"?
If you look recently at the teams that have consistently won in the NHL you'll notice that they did so with patience and excellent work in the draft. Victor Hedman was the #2 pick for Tampa Bay whom already had former #1 pick Steven Stamkos. The Penguins built a dynasty at the top of the draft with Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury. The Bruins drafted well and spent time honing in the skills of players like Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak. Franchises that have won have done so through patience is the point here. Something that when the Blackhawks had their core in place it was because the drafts aligned with one another thusly giving us a true competitve roster ready to win Stanley Cups.
Where it gets tricky is when a team has a little bit of success and they quickly scrap the long game for middle tier gains. I look at the Seattle Kraken that had a surprise season last year after spending on some good middle 6 forwards and shoring up their D core long term. Would it have been better to add in the top 10 of the draft for another year before spending? Time will tell, but so far this season it has been disappointing (despite a 7-1 victory over the Hawks this week).
When the Blackhawks were winning they were aggressive and would trade prospects and picks for "fits" in the lineup that needed upgrades (pictured is Cup winner Antoine Vermette whom the Hawks aquired in 2015 for a 1st round pick and D Klas Dahlbeck). The time for patience was not needed then 8 years ago. Now, however it is the time.
The Blackhawks have a smart GM in Kyle Davidson, one that has shown he is going to commit to the draft by acquiring a multitude of 1st and 2nd round picks for established veterans and young players. Now with Bedard, Korchinski, Moore, Rinzel, Nazar, Greene, Lardis, Kantserov, and Hayes (amongst others) already in the system the team can start to give these young players the coaching and development they need in order to have a full competitive organization top to bottom.
Whether or not the fanbase will be as patient is one thing, however the teams that wait and build through the top 2 rounds of the draft are the ones that have consistently won in this league. I, for one, am looking for Davidson and his staff to give these young players time at all levels (CHL, NCAA, AHL) so that when they reach the NHL that they are more ready than in the past. While waiting for that natural development it is important not to "jump the gun" by going on a spending spree (term more of a factor than aav at the moment) when it's not needed.