NASHVILLE – It all shifts now. No, it will not be turbo charged or general manager Kyle Davidson won’t suddenly be making bonkers trades or signings to turn them into contenders overnight. Drafting Connor Bedard changes much but not a pivot from patience.
But one of the biggest acquisitions of the evening came in the way of drafting Oliver Moore at 19th. The speedy two-way center who likens his game to Dylan Larkin was expected by many to go much higher. Including Davidson.
“It’s so cliche, we didn’t think he was going to be there,” Davidson said. “I couldn’t be happier and I’m so excited.”
But it’s a big step forward–one that doesn’t happen without the luck of being able to draft a generational player like Connor Bedard. But here they are, with a chance to pivot from a painful rebuild to a “build around Bedard” mentality.
It couldn’t work out better but now the real work begins for Davidson and his front office.
The Blackhawks Chance to Speed Things Up While Doing it the Right Way
Bedard knows the passion of the city. He heard the cheers at Bridgestone Arena when his name was called. How could he miss all of the custom Bedard sweaters with his name and number on the back–flooding Nashville like a red and black sea?
“It’s kinda hard to describe and put into words but it’s a great feeling.” Bedard said of the support he’s received so far from Chicago fans.
The excitement can’t be missed and it can’t be criticized for suddenly shifting into a win now mindset. But it can’t be underscored enough that it will still take some time as they are pushing forward to find the right young players to put alongside Bedard.
The plan, written about extensively here at Chicago Hockey Now, has been how the Blackhawks will in the meantime, surround Bedard with veteran leadership to help him come along. How the success of the team goes is dependent on both the production they get from those veterans and the development of the young talent they’re taking.
19th Pick Shows There’s a Definitive Way The Blackhawks Want To Build
There were numerous wings available on the board–ones that are creative and can put the puck into the net. Yet, the strategy they had going into it –which is growing a young speedy team–is exactly what they walked away with by the end of the draft. General Manager Kyle Davidson so badly wanted Oliver Moore and tried to trade up to get him. Wouldn’t you know it, for the second time in this draft, fortune smiled upon the Blackhawks.
“We had Oliver higher way higher than we picked him,” Davidson said. “We were constantly trying to move up for a lot of picks. I was on the phone the whole time–almost from when I got back to my seat to when we went up on stage. I was working the phones trying to get up with him in mind.”
Now though, it gives more flexibility with Moore the likeliest bet to be the second line center to Bedard’s first. Of course, there’s much to still see and a lot that needs to come to fruition before those decisions are made.
But the rebuild in its old form is over. It’s simply building around Bedard.
“Those players that can reach star potential are the hardest boxes and the hardest positions to fill when you’re building a team,” Davidson said. “Obviously first overall is a place where you hope you can get that. We’ve got a player in Connor that has every chance to be that type of player for us.”