Montreal – The Chicago Blackhawks came into the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at the Bell Center on Thursday with no picks in the first round. By the time General Manager Kyle Davidson finished tackling the wheel, they had three.
“Sitting where we are now with the prospects we just picked, I’m very happy,” he said after the first round.
It remains to be seen if the cost is worth it.
“It was a very massive day and a huge turn of the earth for Black Hawks, but it is almost the unofficial start of where we are heading and our ascent there,” Davidson said.
Yes, the Black Hawks solidified their bunker by picking defender Kevin Korczynski in seventh, Frank Nazar in 13 and defender Sam Renzel in 25. But to get the first two, they had to let go of the young forwards Alex DeBrinkat And the Kirby Dash.
DeBrincat is 24 years old, 21 Dach. They collected 104 points this season.
Not long ago, they were considered essential pieces in rebuilding the Black Hawks. Not anymore.
“It’s hard to trade any young player, especially young shareholders like we did today,” Davidson said. “It’s definitely not easy and definitely not fun. Doing the things you have to do to get where you want to go isn’t fun. There will be tough days like this where you see familiar faces that we in management know and love but it’s essential that we get to where we want to be.
“It’s all about the process. Our job is to make sure that the assets we bring into our decisions are the right ones and make them justified. And we have to turn these players into players for the long-term, and that process started today.”
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The Blackhawks traded DeBrincat with senators in Ottawa about three hours before the draft began for three picks: Ottawa’s first- and second-round picks (#7 and 39) in the 2022 draft and the third-round pick in the 2024 NHL draft.
Debrinat has scored 78 points in 82 games this season, leading Chicago with 41 goals to equal his NHL career high in 2018-19.
Dach, who was picked by Chicago with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the first and third round pick (No. 13 and 66) in the 2022 draft. He had 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 70 games this season.
Then Chicago concluded a busy night with the acquisition of a goalkeeper Peter Marazek and the 25th pick in the 2022 draft in a commercial deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a second-round pick (No. 38) in the same draft. Davidson said the deal was done primarily to acquire Rinzel.
“I think we have some really high-quality potential in our system,” Davidson said. “Right now, if I figured we’d add Kevin Korchinsky, Sam Renzel and Frank Nazar, I wouldn’t believe you.”
The three common denominators, Davidson said, are snowboarding skills.
Korczynski (6 feet 2, 185 pounds) has scored 65 points (four goals, 61 assists) in 67 regular season games for the Seattle Western Hockey League this season. The 18-year-old had 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 25 playoffs.
Nizar (5-10, 180) has earned 70 points (28 goals, 42 assists) in 56 games with the USA Hockey Team U18 Development Program this season. He will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall.
Rinzel (6-4, 180) split this season between Chaska High School in Minnesota and Waterloo of the United States Hockey League and combined 48 points (11 goals, 37 assists) in 48 games. He is committed to the University of Minnesota for next season.
Davidson said Black Hawks fans will need to be patient to see this young core develop, especially with what Chicago has abandoned.
“I think it’s hard anytime familiar faces walk out the door, and I understand that, but do you know what?” He said. “We still have a team that loves to play for Chicago, loves to wear that Blackhawk and will bring it every night.”
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