The Chicago Blackhawks are well on their way to duplicating the disappointment last season brought, in terms of their win/loss record at least. They are now the worst team in the National Hockey League if that is all you’re looking at. But with great failure comes great opportunity, as we know. Being at the bottom of the standings gives you the best chance at the number one overall pick in the NHL draft lottery.
The Hawks were bad enough last year to be lucky enough to receive that top pick in last year’s draft when they selected Connor Bedard. At just 18 years old, Bedard came into the league with overwhelming skills and expectations to be the next great thing in hockey. So far, as an individual, he’s met those expectations. He’s recorded 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists) in his first 24 games. But as fate would have it, he is now seemingly in this thing alone (paid subscription).
But there’s a cloud over the Blackhawks organization of wonder as to what could have been for Bedard and the Hawks. The veteran help that was supposed to come in and help lead him and the rest of this young core did not go as planned. Taylor Hall went down with a season-ending injury right as it seemed like something was starting to click between him and the rookie. Corey Perry was removed and released after a mysterious altercation we are still looking for answers on, but wild internet speculation somehow roped Bedard into it wrongfully.
Chicago Blackhawks: what if the past stayed to help the future?
It’s hard not to wonder where this team would be if Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were still a part of the organization, playing or not. Kane was traded to the Rangers last season but was available to sign this offseason. Jonathan Toews is currently taking time away from hockey and is not under contract.
Even before last season came to an end, the Blackhawks ruled out that either would be back with the organization as they looked to focus on the future and building a new dynasty. It is just so astonishing to me that there was not even a thought to consider letting two Blackhawks legends be here with their new generational talent to have a more competitive season while showing Bedard and the youngsters what it takes to win.
I understand wanting to move on for the future, but when Kane is openly suggesting a conversation could have been had to do something about it, I tend to question the decision to not welcome the thoughts of the 3-time Stanley Cup winners.