To be certain, the Chicago Blackhawks rebuild is not over. But the ink drying on Connor Bedard’s entry-level deal is another major flare from the front office signaling that the rebuild shift continues. Be it a pivot or another step escaping what could have been a hellish process without him on board.
It won’t be overnight and there will be a fair share of growing pains along the way. But for the first time in almost a decade, a clear vision is crystallizing and the path out of the rebuild started, and will likely end with the organization grabbing onto Bedard’s cape, letting him help lead the organization out of what could have been a long and painful rebuild.
Bedard and Blackhawks Begin the Journey Together
It won’t all be on Bedard, though. It’s not only unfair, but unrealistic. Hockey is not a sport where one player can simply take over on the sheet of ice. But the seeds have been slowly planted going back to general manager Kyle Davidson’s work in the 2022 NHL Draft. While Alex DeBrincat is now in Detroit, the trade was then panned by many as not gathering enough. But as time as moved on, so too have the prevailing opinions.
Kevin Korchinski may very well join Bedard in Chicago this season, the once lanky defenseman putting on some bulk over the year along with a ton of high stakes hockey experience. Burning the entry-level deal is of no concern to Davidson, it’s about development and not employing a one-size-fits-all mentality with their prospects. Keep an eye on Nolan Allan, too. Preseason can be funny–allowing for surprises that stick for longer than nine games.
Rockford will have Drew Commesso and Colton Dach cutting their teeth at the professional level. Dach was teammates with Korchinski in Seattle and became a lot heavier on the puck as the playoff run went on. If that momentum continues in Rockford, so too will the progression of escaping the rebuild.
But it doesn’t end there. Oliver Moore and Sam Rinzel will be skating together at the University of Minnesota, hoping to hone their respective games. Rooming together in dorms could be foreshadowing what will be the pairing in hotel rooms throughout NHL cities down the road.
That doesn’t count the multitude of other prospects waiting and working without contracts. It’s simple in that while Bedard likely skates with the Blackhawks all season long, help is developing and will try to get to Chicago with him as soon as possible.
Veterans, Too, Will Help Push Chicago Along
Meanwhile, Davidson has brought in veterans to help bring Bedard along. Veteran Corey Perry is one and he’ll be ready to do what he needs to with Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno, and those already on the roster.
“It’s not so much for me on the ice, it’s away from the rink,” Perry said. “It’s in the dressing room, just being a good teammate and just trying to help him with day-to-day stuff, just trying to make sure he knows what to do, where to go, be on time, all those kind of things and then the on-ice stuff, it’ll take over as the season goes.”
The Blackhawks likely won’t be knocking on the playoffs door this season. But there will be excitement and progress.
That’s what matters most as the beginning of the end of the Blackhawks rebuild begins to unfold.