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Blackhawks Free Agency May Hint At IceHogs Direction



CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks have made a lot of big free-agent signings over the week. They have been seen as one of the winners so far because it is clear that they are trying to win more. That is important for a kid like Connor Bedard who can absolutely use all the help he can get.

Kyle Davidson and his staff will have many lineup decisions that won’t be easy. With that said, these signings may already be hinting at what direction they will go. 

This could be where the Rockford Ice Hogs are front and center for the Blackhawks’ next big step. They could think that outside of Bedard, the younger players could get more value dominating the AHL. 

Assistant General Manager Mark Eaton pointed to how it allows the “cream to rise to the top” when the collection of talent has time to grow together–and at the appropriate rate.

“You see that’s what have tried to create, as our prospect pool gets deeper, it’s creating more competition and our scouts do a tremendous job vetting these guys,” Eaton said.  “That’s the foundation of the Blackhawks is a high compete level. So, when you have more competition it allows the cream to rise to the top and push each other in a positive way, get more out of each other.”

This could have an effect on guys like Kevin Korchinski, Lukas Reichel, Frank Nazar, and Artyom Levshunov making the team right out of camp. Some seem to have an advantage more than others like Korchinski and Reichel having plenty of games under their belt. But Reichel spent time in Rockford and Korchinski was NHL only as he would have returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

With all the signings Davidson made, nothing seems off the table.

Multiple Signings Will Help the Blackhawks Long Term

With Laurent Brossoit now forming a goalie tandem with Petr Mrazek, it’s a sign that Drew Commesso and Arvid Soderblom will be the tandem for the Ice Hogs. This is definitely a way to grow things in the crease for the long term.

But the next logical question: Are they good enough to make a run at the Calder Cup? It sure seems like it. Even if they just went on a long run while using the young studs in big minutes, that would be great for the organization. It is certainly more beneficial than having them play 10 minutes a game on a veteran heavy Chicago Blackhawks team. 

If all of these young guys got to experience something like that, they’d come into the NHL the following season wanting more out of their careers. Kyle Davidson may be onto something with this plan. 

The future of this team is very bright. They have made some good draft picks, trades, and signings in the last two years. Now, they seem to be getting their plan in motion with roster construction and it doesn’t stop at the NHL level.

Bringing it back to Eaton, who heads the development portion of the front office, that competition piece will make those prospects even better.

“To me, that’s the greatest benefit of having maybe less spots and more guys competing for less spots,” Eaton said. “It allows the cream to rise to the top and take themselves to a different level.”

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