How Should Kyle Davidson Draft in the Modern NHL?

2022 NHL Draft - Round One
2022 NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Today's NHL has certainly evolved from the 80s, 90s, and early noughties (might want to Google that if you're young). From my point of view there have been many factors that have contributed to a fundamental shift in how we view prospects.

Sure, there are some GMs out there that still value toughness over speed or even situational defender over 3rd line scorers. These are debated still to this day, however the proof will inevitably be in how does the player produce and how has the team gained in points.

According to "Hockey-Reference" at www.hockey-reference.com in the last 20 years we have seen an increase of 0.93 goals per NHL game. That's almost a goal per in the modern day matchup. There are many factors that contribute to this: Goalie equipment (leg pad width decreased, blockers by an inch, gloves by 3 inches). You can read about the 18-19 season changes at www.prostockhockey.com.

There is also the changing of in play rules such as where you can hit a player, rules in close by the goalie (crease) that make it so these "in close" tough guys aren't as needed anymore. Perhaps the days of the "tough" guys are not entirely over, but they definitely aren't needed as often. You have to be skilled.

Tom Wilson is actually a skilled winger as evidence by his 80 goals in his last 256 games (that's a 25 goal per year pace). Without that skill, he may have just been looked at as a big goon that would bounce from team to team until he was not needed in this new NHL.

Look at the top 10 picks of the past, especially the defenseman taken in the lottery. Jack Hughes is a small framed skill player, so is Cale Makar. If there was a redraft, Trevor Zegras wouldn't go 9th anymore. There was no fear taking these players in the top part of the draft mainly due to how skating and skill can win games over toughness and grit. How can you hit a player if you can't catch him afterall? Again, look at the new rules and equipment changes that help to contribute to this.

Kyle Davidson knows today's game. It's clear to me. His first ever pick was LD Kevin Korchinski. A frail, lanky, skating dynamo that can move the puck tape to tape. That is today's game for #1 PP d-men. Look at Shea Theodore and you should get the template of the type of player I'm sure Davidson is envisioning Korchinski to become (hopefully).

Frank Nazar, his second pick, is right in line with this thinking as well. Small, fast, with excellent hands... Not unlike a Matt Barzal that can make things happen in the blink of an eye where you think nothing was going to transpire.

Shane Wright and Juraj Slafkovsky were the 2 big names in the last draft that went in the top 4. Slafkovsky and Wright are skilled, but not like a Logan Cooley or Simon Nemec are. It will be interesting to see these 2 sets of top 4 picks careers play out. Cooley and Nemec the smaller skilled modern players (speed and skill 1C, puck wizard PP QB) and Slafkovsky and Wright more the throw-back gritty guys.

The upcoming draft will have a ton of options for Kyle Davidson and the Blackhawks. Sure, if you are in the top spot there is no debate... you take Connor Bedard. However, when it comes to other selections expect him to stay on track of his preference: speed, skating, and skill. You can always sign some veterans to help balance out what a team requires, but when it comes to developing our next great roster.... In Kyle Davidson, I trust.

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