Don't Put All Your Eggs in the Bedard Basket

Published May 20, 2022 at 1:15 PM

Since the Chicago Blackhawks were unsuccessful in the draft lottery, meaning that their 2022 first-round pick now belongs to the Columbus Blue Jackets due to the Seth Jones trade, there's been a word popping up in relation to next season.

It largely revolves around the idea of the team being intentionally bad next season (tanking) in hopes of landing a high draft pick in the 2023 draft, where the expected top prize is current 16-year-old Connor Bedard who has lit the hockey world on fire in the Western Hockey League. This year, he became the youngest player ever to score 50 or more goals in a season and certainly fills up the highlight reels.

If the Hawks organization makes drafting Bedard its primary goal for the next year without working to develop the prospects it already has, then it'll waste that draft pick just like its wasted countless others over the last decade. Not to mention, there's lots of competition at the bottom: Montreal, Arizona, Seattle, Buffalo, etc.

Watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the last few weeks has offered a stark reminder of what the Blackhawks have been missing for the last five years or so. It's not really the stars at the top: Patrick Kane is still here. Alex DeBrincat is here. Jones may not quite live up to his lofty contract, but he's still pretty good.

Know what the Blackhawks are missing, though? All of these key pieces in the middle that complimented the stars when Chicago was at the top of the hockey world. The glue guys.

You know all the names: the Dave Bollands, the Kris Versteegs, the Bryan Bickells, the Johnny Oduyas, the Andrew Shaws and on and on and on. That's how a team wins three Cups in six seasons. Maybe Taylor Raddysh, Sam Lafferty, Kirby Dach, etc are ready to take on those roles. Maybe not...

Look at the teams having success in this year's postseason. It's not necessarily the stars who are carrying the load. It's the Carter Verhaeghes and David Perrons of the world who are making huge impacts for their respective teams.

The Blackhawks must get better at drafting and developing its own talent if they're going to return to a team that can compete for Cups year in and year out.

And that's where we circle back to Bedard. Yes, a player with that much potential would certainly help bridge the gap from where the Blackhawks are to where they want to be.

But Bedard ending up in Chicago won't suddenly turn them into Cup contenders. They have had Kane in or very near his prime for the last five seasons and have next to nothing to show for it. Look at the Oilers with Connor McDavid, arguably the best player in the league. They have yet to escape the second round of the playoffs in his seven seasons. Time will tell if they can finally get over the hump this year.

Even if Bedard ends up being the next Kane or possibly McDavid, he'd only be one piece and this team needs several pieces to start winning again.

See what you have in Lukas Reichel and Ian Mitchell. Give them a full season's worth of playing time. Keep Kevin Lankinen and bring in a veteran netminder to help bridge the gap. The team will likely still be bad, but maybe they'll be more enjoyable to watch. Of course, hiring the right coach is job one, but for now Hawks fans, let's be grateful for losing the first rounder this year and having multiple firsts the next two years due to the Brandon Hagel trade with Tampa.
May 20   |   203 answers
Don't Put All Your Eggs in the Bedard Basket

Should the Hawks tank for Bedard?

Yes5527.1 %
No6632.5 %
Who?8240.4 %
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