3 former Blackhawks who Kyle Davidson should not bring back for 2024-25

The Chicago Blackhawks could bring back a few players from the late 2010s or early 2020s, but not everyone should make the shortlist.
Apr 4, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov (16) checks the puck
Apr 4, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov (16) checks the puck / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
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Nikita Zadorov, D

Nikita Zadorov didn’t spend as much time in the Windy City as the other two names on this list. But then again, Patrick Kane is one of the longest-tenured players in franchise history, so this isn’t the fairest comparison. Anyway, you may have little recollection of Zadorov’s time in Chicago since it was a short-lived 55 games in the 2020-21 season, but he was a force in the defensive zone. 

Throughout his current age-28 season, Zadorov has continued to be that force with the Calgary Flames and, later, the Vancouver Canucks, landing 68 blocks and 177 hits while averaging between 17 and 18 minutes of ice time. He will likely remain an effective player on the second and/or third-pairing. For that, you may think it’s not a bad idea to bring Zadorov back to the Windy City. 

And you would be correct, especially since the Hawks currently have three blueliners slated to be unrestricted free agents if Kyle Davidson doesn’t bring them back for another year or two. But Zadorov has also shown he deserves a higher AAV and perhaps even a longer contract length, and this is heading into his age-29 season. 

Add to the fact he would be better off playing on the second-pairing rather than the third in most game situations, and that the Hawks are rebuilding with some intriguing blueliners in Rockford who may get the full-time call-up next season. In this situation, the Hawks would be better off signing a cheaper rental than bringing back someone like Zadorov.