Skip to content

Blackhawks GM unsure if Kane, Toews buying into rebuild

“I think that’s probably more of a question for them, but I felt the meeting went well and open dialogue both ways,” Davidson said Thursday. “It was a healthy process, so, they’re both here and chatting with them and keeping that communication open.”

Davidson said he has talked to and will continue to talk to Toews, who has been the Blackhawks captain since 2008, and Kane, their leading scorer last season and most high-profile player, about the moves the team has made in the past few months. , most notably trading Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach on July 7, the first day of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft, and fellow young forward Brandon Hagel before the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.

“I thought it was healthy, open communication, open dialogue as it has been in the past,” Davidson said. “It was necessary, I felt. It’s never easy losing great players and great friends off the team. So, it was important that we sat down.”

The Blackhawks traded DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for a first- and second-round pick (No. 7, Kevin Korchinski; No. 39, Paul Ludwinski) in the 2022 draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. They traded Dach to the Montreal Canadiens for the No. 13 (Frank Nazar) and No. 66 (Gavin Hayes) selections in the 2022 draft. Hagel was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 18 for forwards Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddyshand a first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and 2024 draft that are top-10 protected.

DeBrincat, often a linemate of Kane’s, had 78 points in 82 games this season, leading Chicago with 41 goals to tie his NHL career high he set in 2018-19. A second-round pick (No. 39) in the 2016 NHL Draft, the 24-year-old had 307 points (160 goals, 147 assists) in 368 regular-season games, and six points (two goals, four assists) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games with Chicago.

Dach had 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 70 games last season. The 21-year-old, who was the No. 3 pick by Chicago in the 2019 NHL Draft, Dach had 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) in 152 regular-season games and six points (one goal, five assists) in nine playoff games.

Davidson said he didn’t talk to Toews and Kane before Chicago made the trades.

“It wasn’t specific about, ‘We’re going to do this.’ It was more in general that, ‘You know what, there are probably some real tough decisions that are going to have to be made,'” Davidson said. “You don’t know what you’re actually going to do, so you can’t necessarily say, ‘We’re going to telegraph it’, because who knows if anything comes to fruition. But we knew there were some difficult decisions. to come this summer, and we definitely put that in their court.”

Kane and Toews are each entering the final season of an eight-year contract signed on July 9, 2014. Kane, who the Blackhawks selected No. 1 at the 2007 NHL Draft, has 1,180 points (430 goals, 750 assists) in 1,107 regular-season games. Toews, the no. 3 pick by Chicago in the 2006 NHL Draft, has 852 points (357 goals, 495 assists) in 1,014 games. Each won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Neither Kane nor Toews has commented publicly since the trades.

“From our perspective, they offer so much value to being here,” Davidson said. “Not only are they great on the ice, but all of the experience and all of the professionalism and what they know and what they know of the NHL and the lifestyle is something that’s invaluable when bringing younger players into the organization.

“You have to have veteran players around. You can’t just have a full NHL team of kids. That wouldn’t be fair to those young players coming in, so you need great veterans. That’s something you need around the room and to help them in their development, the younger players’ development.”

The Blackhawks on Wednesday signed forwards Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou each to a one-year, $3 million contract, and forward Colin Blackwell to a two-year, $2.4 million contract ($1.2 million average annual value).

Domi had 39 points (11 goals, 28 assists) in 72 regular-season games for the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets last season. The 27-year-old also had six points (three goals, three assists) in 14 playoff games.

Athanasiou, 27, had 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in 28 regular-season games and one goal in six playoff games with the Los Angeles Kings last season. Blackwell, 29, had 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 58 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Seattle Kraken.

Forward Dylan Sikura, 27, agreed to a one-year, two-way contract ($750,000 NHL/$500,000 American Hockey League) on Thursday. The sixth-round selection (No. 178) in the 2014 NHL Draft played for the Blackhawks and Rockford, their AHL affiliate, from 2018-20. He had an assist in five games with the Colorado Avalanche last season.

“It was bringing in some good NHL talent, because we did move some pretty good players out,” Davidson said. “So we had to fill some spots. But also, going with some of the player trades we were looking for with speed, had to compete, a combination of all those things. I think it was really important to fill some of the holes that were on the roster.”