Blackhawks reveal new screening process players are out through to join the team

June 4, 2024  (5:15 PM)

Kyle Davidson in front of media
Photo credit: Fox 32 Chicago

Blackhawks introduce a new screening process to join the organization

The Blackhawks like many NHL teams, will be gearing up to join the draft combine in Buffalo this week.
The Hawks will be led by director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey and Kyle Davidson in their third NHL combine. They will meet with top NHL draft-eligible players, in addition to assessing their fitness.
As the team has 8 picks overall in the 2024 draft, this will help decide which names will be called in Las Vegas.
The duo's draft history has been successful, namely in the past with players like Connor Bedard, Frank Nazar, and Kevin Korchinski being selected. In 2022, the draft outlook was slightly different, as they didn't own a 1st round draft pick until that day, and Davidson plus Doneghey were still figuring out the nuts and bolts of a draft system to run.
Of course, in Nashville 2023, the whole world knew Connor Bedard would be selected 1st overall, but the team went to the combine with an open mind and did a complete investigation on top prospects available before deciding on Bedard.
They'll be sitting at pick #2 this year, while San Jose will likely be choosing Macklin Celebrini at the 1st overall consensus pick. This leaves the Blackhawks with plenty of options to choose from after that. Doneghey and Davidson feel confident in their roles and processes in order to discern what player would best suit the organization at this time.

«Some teams go in there and they really drill these kids, almost to a degree of uncomfort,» Doneghey said of the 20-minute conversations that take place with players. «But we try to keep them loose because we feel like that's how we get the most information out of them. And at the end of the day, if anybody needs to loosen a room or crack a joke, it's usually Rob Facca because he's got the personality. We like the way we do it, we're comfortable with the way we do it, and it's been successful for us.»

Doneghey and Hudson Chodos will lead the team, in their interviews of 70 prospects in Buffalo, while Chodos( the manager of team scouting and player development) updates the team's internal database in regard to player's interview answers and performance during the combine.
Behind them, will be GM Kyle Davidson, AGM Norm Maciver, and Brian Campbell a 17-year NHL vet. Depending upon the prospect's origins, there will be U.S. scout Rob Facca, leading conversations for the eligible players from the states, while Colin Fraser will lead conversations for those Canadian-born.
With the past two years of experience, the team has developed strategies of forecasting where players will fall in the draft, based upon interviews, and viewing of on-ice play thanks to amateur scouting. They have been able to construct a full picture of each player and combine day will give both the player and team the ability to make great first impressions before the draft.
«You get a feel for the handshake, the eye contact, the posture, how they speak, how they would react in pressure situations, whether it be in games or in front of the media,» Doneghey said. «We understand that it's an avenue for us to meet the player and continue a relationship that's been formed (with the scouts) over two years.»

Doneghey is confident in the team's ability to select the best fit for the team's needs at 2nd overall.
«(Our scouts are) traveling the world, criss-crossing and zigzagging (countries) 20 to 22 nights a month from the end of September through April," he said. "For a scouting staff. this is kind of our Stanley Cup, all the hard work that we've put in throughout the course of the two years, now you really get to see the fruits of your labor.»

Source: NHL.com
FEATURE: Blackhawks Getting Final Prospect Impressions at NHL Draft Combine
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Blackhawks reveal new screening process players are out through to join the team

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Artyom Levshunov6634.9 %
Sam Dickinson179 %
Ivan Demidov10153.4 %
Berkly Catton52.6 %
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