The Chicago Blackhawks won’t be having any reunions with Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews even with the expected selection of Connor Bedard.
After the Blackhawks won the rights to the first overall pick, there was an inkling, wrapped in hope, that Patrick Kane might come back. The final game for Jonathan Toews had already been marked as what it was–the end of his tenure. Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson explained his reasoning and while thanking Toews for his time, explained it was time to go in a new direction.
He doubled down on this again, even in light of what could be a generational player skating with the team next fall.
It’s absolutely the right way to go about it.
Blackhawks Turning the Page on an Era
It was on Mully and Haugh’s morning show that Davidson admitted that Kane would not be re-signed.
“I think we made our decision that we were going to move on from Jonathan and Patrick,” Davidson told the pair. “It was not an easy decision but one we thought gave these young players coming in the best opportunity into those leadership roles that Jonathan and Patrick filled so amazingly for so long.”
For Davidson, it’s about building the “best team” the right way. Though nostalgia elbows and a reunion with Kane would be dynamic to watch with a player like Bedard, it’s not in the cards. Davidson plans on going forward without the links to the past.
For the team to properly grow into its own, Davidson is 100% right.
Every organization, at some point, has to say goodbye to its stars of another era to begin a new one.
Pittsburgh did it with Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux. Detroit did it with Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan. Tampa Bay did it with Vincent Lecavalier. Rarely do the old guard blend with the new and get the desired results.
Davidson is spot on.
Patience Takes Precedence
Davidson also spoke to how he would be careful with building going forward. Lost in the euphoria of winning the lottery is that there’s still a rebuild in play. It’s not the long version that takes some teams four-five years to finally crawl out of. Even then, it’s not guaranteed they’ll even get there. Cautionary tales are strewn around the league. The Edmonton Oilers took almost a decade to turn the corner, gifted with top five picks through the 2010s numerous times. The Arizona Coyotes have been taking on contracts for what seems like decades as they cobble young talent together. The Buffalo Sabres are emerging after shuffling players, staff, and expectations for over a decade.
Stability is a key ingredient. So too is patience. Davidson is showing the first with his answers to Mully and Haugh. He’s asking for the latter, even though he has own of the best building blocks in Bedard.
It’s fair to be excited. It will be fun for fans to watch a young and talented assembling of prospects rise through the system.
Building it his way and tempering the excitement is the right way to go. It should pay off in the end.