It’s established that the Chicago Blackhawks have a lot of draft capital and an overflowing prospect pool. It’s also established that the rebuild is still on even after they take Connor Bedard with the top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
What’s less established is whether another team would be willing to budge from its spot to help the Blackhawks enhance its war chest.
Chicago Hockey Now outlined an argument as to why a top ten trade is much harder to pull off. But as they showed in the last draft, they’ll be aggressive where need be. But it has to be a perfect marriage for both teams and one that is a calculated, not foolish risk.
The old adage says that in order to get something, you’ll have to give something up. Let’s dive a bit to see what could be done.
Arizona Could Be An Optimal Target; Maybe Vancouver?
The Arizona Coyotes, like the Blackhawks, have an earlier pick and a team who would be more willing to engage in a picks-only trade. The Coyotes are chock full of third-round picks while Chicago has a handful of second-round choices. A high second-round pick coupled with the 19th overall could maybe get a conversation started. However, it’s to be noted that during last year’s draft, each of the teams moving up dealt a player to get there.
There’s also something written about before: will other teams with multiple picks do anything to help the Blackhawks, who won the Lottery? Take it as one wants, but if the team that just got a generational talent is calling to move up–likely it’s going to be an overpay to do so. Sure some will trade to make their teams better. But Chicago’s rebuild accelerates with Bedard in the fold.
A notch ahead of Arizona would be Vancouver, but the option they’d have in player form to move up would be Connor Murphy but he’s not only on the right side, but also has a no-movement clause. It’s a dead end, unless Murphy would agree to go. Murphy, the 19th overall pick, and a high second round pick could potentially do it, but that one is likely a pipe dream, knowing that Vancouver will likely want to use it.
So maybe they’re both dead ends.
Much Depends On Who Davidson Deems Available
Truthfully, it will take an NHL caliber player to get into the top ten plus the first-round pick and likely second-round picks if he eyes tenth through 12th. But what about one of the prospects? Not a Kevin Korchinski obviously. But would a Gavin Hayes like prospect, who is still a few years from making it to Chicago, be packaged with a pick to get a player who might have a faster track to the NHL?
Realistically, the 14th spot owned by Buffalo may be the best best for the smallest amount to give up. A five spot jump is not as drastic as a seven or eight spot jump. But it truly depends on how the Blackhawks value the prospect and what it costs to get there.
The Blackhawks are in a good predicament, one that completely changed when they won the right to draft Connor Bedard. If it were a long rebuild, there is no conversation. But now? A third season with Bedard while wandering in a rebuild wilderness will result in an anxious fan base.
The truth of the matter is that Chicago has only made the playoffs once in the last seven seasons. Three Cups in six years followed by only three playoff appearances in the next eight is quite the dropoff. So while fans are willing to wait a bit, if a player falls outside the top 10 that could be in the NHL sooner rather than later, it’s only fair to look closer into making a deal.
It may mean a prospect being dealt with picks. But it may also mean a quicker return to contention.
If the 2023 selection is skating with Chicago at the start of the 2024-25 season, it will be well worth it.