The Blackhawks reached another benchmark in their active rebuild on Wednesday, notching their 2023 NHL draft class.
Highlighting the draft class is the No. 1 pick and generational talent Connor Bedard and the fastest skater in the draft, Oliver Moore, who the Hawks serendipitously stumbled upon with the No. 19 pick.
Insiders are describing this point as turning a new leaf for hockey in Chicago.
“The next era of Chicago Blackhawks hockey officially began this week, and in many ways, Davidson is as much the face of it as the phenom he drafted first overall, Connor Bedard,” Greg Wyshynski wrote for ESPN. “The 34-year-old general manager’s enthusiasm was infectious, whether he was extolling the virtues of his many draft choices, his trade acquisitions … or toying with a local podcast that mistook him for random Blackhawks fan ‘Kyle from Chicago’ on Broadway.
“Of course, it helps when one has a strong couple of days: Drafting Bedard and then having the fastest skater in the draft, Oliver Moore, fall to him at No. 19; and starting to rebuild the Blackhawks with character veterans like Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno and the rights to Corey Perry. Chicago has a lot of work ahead in repairing the franchise — in every sense of the term — but Davidson has confidently started that process.”
The Blackhawks made all the right steps from the draft. Drafting Bedard, Moore and a slew of gigantic, athletic centers and wingers will stockpile their already robust farm system. The secret sauce to the Hawks’ rebuild came in the additional moves they made outside the draft.
They acquired former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hart for a relatively fair price — the rights to defensemen Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula. Additionally, the Hawks signed Nick Foligno to a $4 million deal.
During the draft, the Hawks traded a 2024 seventh-round pick, reportedly, for the rights to sign Corey Perry, the longtime Anaheim Duck and former Hart and Richard Trophy winner. The idea behind these veteran signings is to give life to a particularly young Blackhawks team on both sides of the puck while injecting the team with leadership.
Bedard mentioned his excitement to work with both Hall and Fogliono. Davidson said the leadership the veterans bring is a nice side benefit to the younger players on the team.
As Wyshynewski wrote, the Hawks have a long way to go in their rebuild; but the Hawks took a massive leap during the NHL draft, nailing down vital pieces and supplemental gold.