Why Black Hawks Prioritize a Different Philosophy in Scouting for Players

Since Kyle Davidson took over as General Manager of Black HawksThe main question was how the team would look in the future under his leadership.

We’ve heard from him and others that he’s not his predecessor, Stan Bowman. But what does this mean? In the past few months, we’ve been getting more details about their differences. For example, Davidson said he’d like to be more patient with development and allow players more time to grow at rookies, Rockford, or wherever. He obviously learned from the obvious mistakes Bowman made in the course of his development Kirby DashAnd Adam Bockvist and other prospects.

Recently, Davidson has also begun to define what he looks for in players. He asked his amateur and professional expedition crew to search for specific properties.

“So we’re looking for high-speed players who play high-speed hockey, are very competitive, and then as people you want paid players, want to improve, understand what they need to work on or are willing to do so,” Davidson said in early May. The opposite would be a red flag. So I don’t think there’s one thing a player can do which is, oh, we really want to avoid that. We really want to throw in the traits we love and what we want to bring to Chicago.”

So, Black Hawks are not looking for a skill anymore? Well, no. As it was explained to me recently, Black Hawks certainly still want skilled players, but it can’t be the only thing they really bring to the table.

Looking back now, the main reason for the Black Hawks’ decline was because they started prioritizing skill over anything else. Bowman came to believe that if they could stock up on enough talented offensive players, they could remain competitive.

Bowman also got amateur exploration director Mark Kelly to buy it. Blackhawks drafts show this trend. they took Nick Schmaltzoffensive center, with their first-round pick in 2014. They went with Alex DeBrinkata winger with high goals, and Chad Chris, a defensive striker, with their top two picks in 2016. Henry Jukiharjo And Ian Mitchell, their top picks in 2017, were both petite defensive players who are seen as having plenty of skill. They drafted two skilled Bockvist defensive backs and Nicholas Bowden with their first-round picks in 2018.

It wasn’t just the draft. Bowman lobbied for the signings and deals that brought in skilled players. As Schmaltz approaches his second decade, Bowman deals with him Dylan Strom, which is a more offensive center. Furthermore, Bowman acquired Thomas Jourko for a third round pick for the draft. He brought in David Rundblad for the second round selection.

The most notable unsuccessful trade with an attacking player was when Boman transferred Jukiharjo, who showed some promise in the junior season, to Buffalo Saber Alex Nylander. Nylander was a popular attacking winger who was recruited in eighth place in 2017. The six strikers recruited before him that year are an impressive roster. there was Auston MatthewsAnd Patrick LinAnd Pierre Luc DuboisAnd Jesse PoliogarviAnd Matthew Tkachuk And Clayton Keeler. Nylander struggled early on with the Sabers and played mostly in the AHL. Bowman thought the Blackhawks could pull more of him.


Alex Nylander with the Blackhawks in the 2019-20 season. (Jerome Meron/USA Today)

Nylander had every chance in the world to prove himself with the Black Hawks as well. He played in the top six until he became very inconsistent and started moving down the lineup. But there were times when Nylander seemed to be able to produce in NHL. He had lines where he put numbers. Practically speaking, it can also be exciting. Entering the bubble qualifiers in 2020, Looks like Nylander has taken off Together with Ken Strom. But in the playoffs when he wasn’t producing – he had none in eight points – he had nothing else to give to the Blackhawks and it was a healthy scratch.

The GMs are allowed to make some mistakes on the players, but Bowman blunders a lot from the same type of players. I’ve made the same mistake over and over again. The other thing about the Nylander trade and other moves of the attacking players is that they weren’t collective opinions within the Blackhawks hockey operations team at the time. There were scouts who pointed out concerns about Nylander and others. Bowman did not listen. He had made up his mind and moved on. Given that Davidson hasn’t made a lot of changes within the scouting divisions, that tells us how he believed their opinions. He also parted ways with Kelly earlier this year.

Davidson and his assistant general manager Norm McIver were in the room having a lot of those conversations about Nylander and his company. Considering the Maciver was iced out by Bowman and left for Seattle Kraken, it is safe to assume that he did not agree with all of Bowman’s philosophies. Based on what Davidson said, he clearly didn’t, either. Once again, it seems Davidson has been seeing how Bowman handles things and is now deciding to do them differently.

Davidson began acquiring players who had that high competition and the speed he desired. the act of commerce Brandon Hagelwhich fits perfectly with those qualities, but it was a bargain for bringing in multiple picks from the first round. Sam Laffertywhich was acquired for Nylander and re-signed, He has some of these qualities. Taylor Radishwhich was part of Hagel’s trade, as shown Some of what the Black Hawks are looking for.

The draft will provide more opportunities for Davidson to change how Black Hawks look forward. He has five total picks in the second and third rounds this year. In 2023, he has two options in the first round and two more in the second round. It’s possible the Blackhawks will try to collect more early draft picks, too. League sources said they wouldn’t be surprised if DeBrincat, Patrick King Wow Jonathan Toews They are traded before their next contracts. All three players are due new contracts ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Whatever Davidson decides to do with DeBrinkat, Kane and Toews after next season will undoubtedly shape the future of the Black Hawks. But everything Davidson does in the coming years is also vital. Not only is it about walking away from Bowman’s philosophies and creating his own way of doing things, but being successful in that approach if the Blackhawks are ever to be successful again. So we now know more about how Davidson hopes to build a competitor again, but time will tell if he can actually do that.

(Photo by Kyle Davidson: Chris Kohli/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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