Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson publicly talks 'quiet, less predictable' trade deadline

Janessa Ladouceur
March 9, 2024  (10:07)

Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson

Chicago Blackhawks general manager, Kyle Davidson, was incredibly active during the 2023 trade deadline, executing nine moves in the weeks leading up to it, including trading away the franchise icon, Patrick Kane. However, this year's trade deadline was much quieter, as expected. Three players who could have fetched decent returns, Jason Dickinson, Nick Foligno, and Petr Mrazek, signed two-year extensions, while Corey Perry, who was likely to be traded for a good return, was dismissed from the team in November, leaving the Blackhawks with no opportunity to get assets for him.

"For sure," Davidson said during the post-trade deadline press conference on Friday. "That was a decision we had made and understood that those signings would likely limit the interest or volume of calls we were going to field at the deadline. That all went into the mix and, in the end, we came out strongly in favor of keeping them around than any potential activity around the deadline."
The only move the Blackhawks made this year was to trade Anthony Beauvillier to Nashville for a fifth-round pick in 2024.
"I didn't really have anything pegged," Davidson said of whether he hoped to pull off more trades. "But heading into it, I thought there would be a little more activity, whether we did something or not was a different story. I just thought there would be a little more action on our end, but it was quieter, which is fine.
"We're happy with the group we have moving through the deadline. I wasn't like dead-set on trying to make other moves. If it happened, it happened, and it didn't."
The Blackhawks had hoped to leverage their cap space by taking on a contract or acting as a third-party broker for extra compensation, similar to what they did with the Dickinson and Nikita Zaitsev trades last year. However, no suitable opportunity presented itself this year. Many teams this year participated in salary retention deals.
"You get feelers on that," Davidson said. "The ones that came to us, I don't think it made sense given that we only have two retained salary spots left. For a late-round pick, it's just something I didn't want to potentially limit ourselves whether be today or down the road or whatever. I just wanted to keep those spots open."
Although the Blackhawks were quiet at the deadline this year, Davidson still found it to be weirdly stressful at times.
"The last few years were stressful for different reasons; the activity and gravity of some moves," Davidson said. "This year I think was more stressful because — it wasn't more stressful, it was a different kind of stress because the last two deadlines I've worked have been so busy that this felt different. You're thinking like, 'Is there something else I should be doing?' And so it was just different.
"To say it was much more quiet would be an understatement. It was different. You still work the phones the same, just there's less substance in those phone calls, which feels like you're spinning your wheels a bit. But all good, just a different year for us."
Davidson has shifted his focus to the 2024 NHL Draft after the trade deadline has passed.
"That's definitely going to take up a lot of the focus now, that along with tracking some of the prospects down the stretch and see how they're doing, where we might want to have them play, whether it's to end this year or to play next year.
"Those kind of conversations are going to really heat up and start to be had. Yeah, between draft prep and then those prospect conversations, that's definitely going to be a shift in focus."
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Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson publicly talks 'quiet, less predictable' trade deadline

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