The Blackhawks' Future at the Draft

It may not be what you think
U18 Ice Hockey World Championship 2023 - Semi Final
U18 Ice Hockey World Championship 2023 - Semi Final / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

The cupboard is already pretty full, but be ready because Kyle Davidson has already ordered an entire buffett of 1st and 2nd rounders for the future. With Connor Bedard and Kevin Korchinski (the 1st overall pick in 2023 and the #7 overall pick in 2022) currently playing in prominent roles with the Blackhawks it's easy to overlook what's ahead. This is a good thing, it means that the present is just as exciting to watch as (hopefully) the future of the franchise.

In prior seasons that was the outlook afterall: the future. Well, the future is now and it's fun to see (especially the last win against the Maple Leafs). However, Kyle Davidson had already set up the next 2 drafts for success even before May 8th (the day Chicago won the lottery). In the 2024 draft the Hawks will add in the Lightning's 1st round selection (top 10 protected) as well as the Canucks (Riley Stillamn deal in which the Hawks also received Jason Dickinson) and Kings (via the Flyers for #51 in the 2023 draft) 2nd round picks.

That's 3 valuable assets on top of the Blackhawks own 1st and 2nd rounders. It is shaping up to be a draft with at least 4 top tier forwards (Macklin Celebrini, Cole Eiserman, Ivan Demidov, and Berkly Catton) as well a host of high end (projected to the NHL) defenseman led by Sam Dickinson, Henry Mews, Adam Jiricek, and Aron Kiviharju. So 5 picks in the top 50-60 selections are likely to be in the prospect pipeline next summer.

Will Kyle Davidson use all of them? That remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: they are currency that a lot of teams would like to have. If the Blackhawks finish this season stronger than expected there is no reason to hold back (in my opinion) in using said currency to help the team add in a player that can step into the top 6 forward group or top 4 blue line lot. Much like the New Jersey Devils found themselves midseason last year, the Blackhawks in a years time could see a young roster a piece or two away from true contention.

Would a Timo Meier type of player be available at the deadline in 2025? That I'm not sure on as those type of players are rarely available (young, experienced and statistically proven) however it's comforting to know that Davidson will have the assets to pull the trigger on that type of deal if it so arised.

In terms of the 2025 draft and Chicago's picks they are as follows: They acquired a conditional 1st from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty deal. Max Domi was traded to Dallas for a 2nd rounder in the 2025 draft as well. That's another 2 valuable picks. This draft may even be better than the 2024 draft class as well. James Hagens is already drawing alot of Jack Hughes comparisons and Michael Misa is an exceptional status center with outstanding hands and hockey IQ. Those 2 standout and could make Chicago the epicenter for calls (from rival GMs) trying to acquire extra resources to maneuver to their desired spot for selection.

Beyond the next two drafts, Chicago also holds 3 extra picks in the 2026 draft (two 2nds and a 4th) just for good measure. Again, will they use all of these picks? That's unlikely especially with a full prospect pool as is. Months ago I did a tier ranking for all of the Blackhawks prospects and was amazed I could fill out the list to 50 players. That's extremely rare to have that many players at that level.

The future is bright. Bedard, Korchinksi, Kaiser, Vlasic, and Reichel are all playing in the NHL at the moment and prospects like Nazar, Moore, Rinzel, Kantserov, Commesso, Savoie, and Gajan are on their way (amongst many others). The cupboard of assets is also full and could see the Blackhawks in position to make a play (although Davidson will weigh the draft classes against the risk of a trade) in the trade market if he so chooses.

The most exciting part of this rebuild though is that while we all know the future looks good, the present isn't that bad either! After a commanding 4-1 victory on the road against Cup contender Toronto, the Blackhawks will face the 2022 champion Avalanche tonight in Denver. ("Denver, gorgeous")

Cale Makar
Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages