October 26, 2021, the Blackhawks' General Manager Stan Bowman resigned his post. His time with Chicago ended during, and as a result of, the Kyle Beach investigation. Since then, Kyle Davidson has been the interim General Manager, and no permanent replacement has been named. For that matter, after John McDonough was shown the door, there hasn't been an executive to specifically oversee hockey. A new GM is going to be announced very soon, but the question remains, who will be the new GM's boss?
The Chicago Blackhawks issued a press release on January 26 saying that the organization wanted to have a person employed to fill the GM position before the trade deadline. According to the press release the official position from the Blackhawks is the following:
"We plan to create a next generation Hockey Operations department with a path to sustained success for the Chicago Blackhawks. Our next step is to find the right leader, and we will begin to reach out to potential candidates this week to interview for the General Manager role. That position will be the highest-ranking executive in Hockey Operations and will report directly to me. We anticipate making a final decision in advance of the National Hockey League Trade Deadline."- Chicago Blackhawks
What I'm stuck on is that the next GM will only report to Danny, and/or Rocky Wirtz. Whoever is hired will end up in charge of the hockey side of the organization, with Jaime Faulkner likely responsible for the business side of the team. This implies that Chicago has finally decided not to have a president of hockey operations, and the next person in the GM role will likely need to have some kind of vision of how to get the team back on track, and how long that will take.
Considering what a disastrous state Chicago is currently in, it would be hard to believe that the organization wouldn't want to do everything it could to make the team as competitive as possible. Without a president overseeing the GM, and every other aspect of the team, everything falls on the person that ends up in Bowman's old office. Davidson is keeping that seat warm right now, but does he have a plan for the next 5-10 years? Is this the right way forward? Perhaps Chicago could hire someone in a sort of consultancy role, such as how Scotty Bowman is currently as Senior Advisor, Hockey Operations. (Yes, even though his son "resigned", the elder Bowman is still working with the team.)
The Chicago Blackhawks need clear direction for a brighter future
A person in this role would be able to advise on much of what happens with the on-ice product, but wouldn't really be able to undermine the authority of the GM, who answers directly to the Wirtz's. The team needs a direction, a vision for how the Blackhawks will once again be among the NHL's best teams.
Stan Bowman held a similar role before he stepped down, meaning he was working without much oversight. I think we can agree, it hasn't exactly turned out well. The current could be all on Bowman, but Blackhawks are currently 24th place in the league. I'd like to see more than a GM steering the team's future. Even if it's just for advice, another voice should take part in the conversation about where the team is going. Mark Lazerus of The Athletic tweeted out information for a town hall event that will probably spell out what was described in the January 26 press release.
Chicago needs a direction that isn't towards the bottom of the standings, and a vision for how the Blackhawks will once again be a competitive team. Even if it's just for advice, I'd like to see another voice take part in the conversation of where the team is going. Hopefully, the new GM won't be going it alone and has some capable friends along for the voyage.