Blackhawks '21-22

#152      

bdutts

Houston, Texas
The Debrincat return was underwhelming and seems like Davidson forced it. He could have waited until the trade deadline to see who needed a scoring wing. The Dach return was good. Surprised they got two picks for him and a 15 top in the first round, having shown very little in the NHL. The Mrazek return was good, too. A first and a goalie for a second round. Strange pick with the #25 they got, though. Must have really wanted that guy at 25. We will see on all three of the picks, probably in three to five years.

A couple of things are certain: 1) Davidson put his stamp on this team, 2) They will be tough to watch next year and probably two more after that.

As someone said above, embrace the tank!
 
#154      
The Debrincat return was underwhelming and seems like Davidson forced it. He could have waited until the trade deadline to see who needed a scoring wing.
It's crystal clear that the intent has been to goad Kane and Toews into requesting trades themselves. Not offering Dylan Strome is also of a piece with that.

But the sports world and the sports media has become exponentially too deferential to tanking as a strategy. So long as you suck you're doing the right thing which is an absurd syllogism.

The DeBrincat trade was a spectacular, almost unfathomable failure of rebuilding GMing. DeBrincat brought back less than Brandon Hagel, and barely more than Kirby Dach.

To take three first rounders in a weak draft and not gain any capital in what's thought to be a generationally loaded 2023 draft even outside of Connor Bedard is a huge failure.

And now the clock ticks on the risk of losing Toews, and especially Kane, for nothing.

It also seems like the picks were reaches, but I have far from enough knowledge on hockey scouting to really drill down on that.

DeBrincat and Dach for three lottery tickets in a bad draft, a salary dump goalie, and a couple of late round picks, and NOTHING in the 2023 draft is just a really, really bad job, and fetishizing how long the team will be bad as a result is poor, backwards analysis.
 
#155      
Debrincat is great but Ottawa is getting him for 2 years at about $15 million. Good value but not a steal.

It’s not like they are breaking up the 91 Bulls here. If you say let’s keep Kane and Debrincat you are committing about 40% of your cap space to those two plus Jones. Is that a “core” to build around. I would argue no. There just isn’t enough talent in the system and you can’t spend enough to fill all the gaps. I hate that this is the reality but I don’t see any quick fix here. You could keep Debrincat and trade Kane but he has a no trade clause and didn’t seem to want out of Debrincat stays.
 
#156      
Young players being shed for nothing while those responsible for developing them are welcome to stay really demonstrates how little method there is to this madness.

If anyone cared about hockey I think this would wind up being a very instructive lesson in the finer points of how not to go about so-called "rebuilding". At the moment it's too savvy and high-status to always show unexamined deference to strategic losing. One part our societal values, one part the personality type of the Online American Man.

May the unprofessional joke this franchise will be for the foreseeable future, to no benefit but at full price, start to fix some of that.
 
#157      
Young players being shed for nothing while those responsible for developing them are welcome to stay really demonstrates how little method there is to this madness.

I have very little idea what this statement means. Perhaps you could clarify? Do you want more front office and coaching staff turnover?

Regarding the young players who were shed, here's how I see it:

Hagel - Love him as a player and what he brought to the team, but I don't see how you can't make that trade. In fact, I think the absurdly high return for Hagel set the bar a bit too high for what followed.

Dach - Tough one, hate to give up on a big center with skill so early. My biggest beef with the Hawks is absolutely wasting last year with no real NHL coaching staff. Stan should have been fired for incompetence before the Beach scandal broke. I just don't see how he made the 'win now' trade for Jones without firing Colliton and getting a real coach. Then Davidson compounded the problem by putting King in place and saying it was too difficult to change systems mid-season, as if that's never been done successfully before. So I think it's really hard to properly evaluate the roster as a whole and Dach in particular. That said, he does seem to get lit up a lot and it looks like his ceiling is 2C so probably fair value in this trade based on what we've seen from him so far.

Cat - Definitely an underwhelming return for what he has accomplished, but unlike Hagel he has a difficult contract. I'm surprised he was traded without having an extension in place already. If he says no to an extension he can play the year after this one for 9M and then walk to UFA. If Davidson waited until the deadline, the 1st round picks we'd get back are from contending teams and less valuable. So if he decided to not keep him, the draft was the time to trade him. Stan is no longer a NHL GM, so you wouldn't find anyone else willing to trade a 2023 pick that's not top-10 protected.

If anyone cared about hockey I think this would wind up being a very instructive lesson in the finer points of how not to go about so-called "rebuilding". At the moment it's too savvy and high-status to always show unexamined deference to strategic losing. One part our societal values, one part the personality type of the Online American Man.

May the unprofessional joke this franchise will be for the foreseeable future, to no benefit but at full price, start to fix some of that.

Davidson clearly wants to be very, very bad this year and most likely really bad the next year. That's the only explanation for trading Cat. I think hockey is the ultimate team sport, but it's been shown that you need a superstar to win Cups and those guys are typically top 3 picks. I also think we're not beating Colorado anytime soon, so this is as good a time as any for a 5 year plan. I don't have season tickets so it's really not my problem at all. I can understand being salty if you are a STH and didn't think this would happen when you renewed. Time will tell if this was the right plan, but it is at least a plan.
 
#158      
Do you want more front office and coaching staff turnover?
For a new regime to retain the interim coach and AHL coach they inherited is genuinely quite strange. But of course it's not really a new regime, it's just an internal palace coup against Stan Bowman.

No credit to Bowman who left an absolute mess by any measure, but if the prospect pipeline is so bare, responsibility goes further than just the man at the top, nevermind needing change to institute the change in style of play they are purporting to seek.
I think the absurdly high return for Hagel set the bar a bit too high for what followed.
This is overstating it, the DeBrincat and Mrazek trades are a joke regardless, but it's true TB made an offer no one could refuse for Hagel.
My biggest beef with the Hawks is absolutely wasting last year with no real NHL coaching staff. Stan should have been fired for incompetence before the Beach scandal broke. I just don't see how he made the 'win now' trade for Jones without firing Colliton and getting a real coach. Then Davidson compounded the problem by putting King in place and saying it was too difficult to change systems mid-season, as if that's never been done successfully before.
Agreed on all counts. Then why is King still here? This organization has now literally across three generations of leadership had a pathological inability to just move on from likable good soldiers in coaching and management who aren't fit for purpose.
Davidson clearly wants to be very, very bad this year and most likely really bad the next year.
It's always just assumed without analysis that's the strategically correct move. I don't think it was for this Blackhawks situation, especially when the lack of market for DeBrincat revealed itself, double especially if Kane and Toews really don't want to leave.

But none of that was ever analyzed. It was absolutely damn-the-torpedoes to tank in the most aggressive fashion ever seen in hockey from the day Davidson took the job. And sports discourse is such that neither he nor the people that hired him ever face real questions about the WISDOM of doing that, never mind the obviously odious morality of it. That's why they do it! Tanking is a get-out-of-criticism-free card.
Time will tell if this was the right plan, but it is at least a plan.
This is exactly what I'm talking about. No it isn't.

It's only a plan if there's a strategy to maximize resources, and we have already seen that there's not.

Sam Hinkie was a total failure with the Sixers for that reason. I suspect Davidson is going to be more insulated from consequences than Hinkie was because of the way the Blackhawks operate, goodness knows how bad it will get. Good luck to Conor Bedard if he has to walk into this mess.
 
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#159      
For a new regime to retain the interim coach and AHL coach they inherited is genuinely quite strange. But of course it's not really a new regime, it's just an internal palace coup against Stan Bowman.

No credit to Bowman who left an absolute mess by any measure, but if the prospect pipeline is so bare, responsibility goes further than just the man at the top, nevermind needing change to institute the change in style of play they are purporting to seek.

This is overstating it, the DeBrincat and Mrazek trades are a joke regardless, but it's true TB made an offer no one could refuse for Hagel.

Agreed on all counts. Then why is King still here? This organization has now literally across three generations of leadership had a pathological inability to just move on from likable good soldiers in coaching and management who aren't fit for purpose.

It's always just assumed without analysis that's the strategically correct move. I don't think it was for this Blackhawks situation, especially when the lack of market for DeBrincat revealed itself, double especially if Kane and Toews really don't want to leave.

But none of that was ever analyzed. It was absolutely damn-the-torpedoes to tank in the most aggressive fashion ever seen in hockey from the day Davidson took the job. And sports discourse is such that neither he nor the people that hired him ever face real questions about the WISDOM of doing that, never mind the obviously odious morality of it. That's why they do it! Tanking is a get-out-of-criticism-free card.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. No it isn't.

It's only a plan if there's a strategy to maximize resources, and we have already seen that there's not.

Sam Hinkie was a total failure with the Sixers for that reason. I suspect Davidson is going to be more insulated from consequences than Hinkie was because of the way the Blackhawks operate, goodness knows how bad it will get. Good luck to Conor Bedard if he has to walk into this mess.
You claim that without analysis it’s assumed that being bad for a few years is lauded as the right way to go. I have analyzed this team as currently structured, their prospect pool and their salary cap situation. Having Conor Bedard (or a top 3 pick in next years draft) and an insane amount of salary cap space in two years puts this team in a much better position than you could possibly hope for by signing Debrincat to a long term extension. There is no path to reasonably expect to be better next year, especially after Keith retired and the Hawks take a big cap hit. How did the hawks kick start their cup runs? Building up their prospect pool and then hitting home runs in 06 and 07?
 
#160      
Having Conor Bedard (or a top 3 pick in next years draft) and an insane amount of salary cap space in two years puts this team in a much better position than you could possibly hope for by signing Debrincat to a long term extension.
I guess I just don't necessarily agree. You've got a 19% chance at Bedard if you're in dead last, and he or any other top 18 year old prospect and a barren NHL team is going to take an awful lot of building.

The situation Davidson inherited was bad, but not utterly hopeless in terms of making a competitive team out of the main pieces. And in a slow rising cap league with a lot of teams crowding the tanking path, that direction is no cinch as we're seeing.
There is no path to reasonably expect to be better next year
To the extent that's true, doesn't that give you the opportunity to have your cake and eat it too? Start building in a more intelligent way with better coaching and better player development AND take your lottery shot?

So much of it comes down to being able to get significant returns for Kane, Toews and DeBrincat that put you ahead of the league in terms of longer-term assets. That's what makes the tear down a tempting prospect. 0-for-1 so far.
 
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#161      
I guess I just don't necessarily agree. You've got a 19% chance at Bedard if you're in dead last, and he or any other top 18 year old prospect and a barren NHL team is going to take an awful lot of building.

The situation Davidson inherited was bad, but not utterly hopeless in terms of making a competitive team out of the main pieces. And in a slow rising cap league with a lot of teams crowding the tanking path, that direction is no cinch as we're seeing.

To the extent that's true, doesn't that give you the opportunity to have your cake and eat it too? Start building in a more intelligent way with better coaching and better player development AND take your lottery shot?

So much of it comes down to being able to get significant returns for Kane, Toews and DeBrincat that put you ahead of the league in terms of longer-term assets. That's what makes the tear down a tempting prospect. 0-for-1 so far.
Toews is not the player he once was obviously. He is part of the problem through no fault of his own. He has no trade value at his current salary.

I think if you honestly sit down and try and build a team around Kane at $10 million per year, Debrincat at around 9 million per year and Jones at 9 million per year as your core you will run into some issues.

If Dach, Debrincat, Kubalik, Strome and some of the other casualties go on to outperforming expectations then I will eat my words. I watched this miserable mess over the last few years and I just don’t get the “how could you move on from these guys” mentality. Team is slow and can’t forecheck anyone. Kane and Debrincat are great together on the power play but meh at even strength. If you blame the defensemen for their struggles at even strength well so do I. You still have to fix it. It isn’t going to get better by chance.

Being bad for a few years can be a byproduct of clearing up cap space and building your prospect pool. It doesn’t mean it is the intent. I don’t know if this will work but I am more optimistic about it than building around a 34 year old Kane, Debrincat and Jones at around 40% of your salary cap space.
 
#162      

Joel Goodson

dawgville
Toews is not the player he once was obviously. He is part of the problem through no fault of his own. He has no trade value at his current salary.

I think if you honestly sit down and try and build a team around Kane at $10 million per year, Debrincat at around 9 million per year and Jones at 9 million per year as your core you will run into some issues.

If Dach, Debrincat, Kubalik, Strome and some of the other casualties go on to outperforming expectations then I will eat my words. I watched this miserable mess over the last few years and I just don’t get the “how could you move on from these guys” mentality. Team is slow and can’t forecheck anyone. Kane and Debrincat are great together on the power play but meh at even strength. If you blame the defensemen for their struggles at even strength well so do I. You still have to fix it. It isn’t going to get better by chance.

Being bad for a few years can be a byproduct of clearing up cap space and building your prospect pool. It doesn’t mean it is the intent. I don’t know if this will work but I am more optimistic about it than building around a 34 year old Kane, Debrincat and Jones at around 40% of your salary cap space.

This. The top 3 are all great prospects (i.e., possibly generational), we don't *have* to get Bedard. Tanking hard is pretty darn cynical, but it's the quickest way out of this morass we've been in. Being an ok team isn't the goal. That said, obviously, this rebuild is gonna take time. Davidson's scouting department needs to be top notch, otherwise this rebuild will ultimately fail.
 
#163      
Being bad for a few years can be a byproduct of clearing up cap space and building your prospect pool. It doesn’t mean it is the intent.
Oh let's be real, it's absolutely the intent. How else to get higher draft picks for 18 year olds who are three years away from contributing?

This idea of cap space is a deception. It's Rockford-quality bums for the foreseeable future.

it's the quickest way out of this morass we've been in.
Again, just taken on faith.

Basketball is different but the NBA has plenty of the same logic, and I think it's striking the difference with what Arturas Karnisovas did when he took over the Bulls. GarPax left a mess just like Stan Bowman and the immediate assumption was to sell Zach Lavine for whatever you could get and blow the whole thing up. Instead he traded a ton of future assets for Nikola Vucevic to pair with him. It didn't work. So he doubled down and added DeMar Derozan and Lonzo Ball.

I don't think the evidence supports the generalized proposition that nuking your losing roster is the more robust path to success than making the best of what you have and sincerely trying to improve. In any sport. There are examples you could cite both ways, some situations are more tank-friendly than others. But the attitude in the savvy online sports fan and media world is that it is just per se obvious that total roster annihilation, being absolutely as bad as you possibly can, is the smartest thing you can possibly do. That's incorrect, and that is what the Blackhawks are doing.

In five years this team will be nowhere. Maybe the same would be true making an effort of it, but maybe not, and even in the worst case you've seen out the careers of a couple of team legends. But no, that's dumb sports radio meatball talk.
 
#164      

Illiniaaron

Geneseo, IL
Isn't it a reasonable assumption that Toews plays this last year with the Hawks and then retires? I hear talk about moving him to a contender but I think the tank is about empty for him.
 
#165      
Isn't it a reasonable assumption that Toews plays this last year with the Hawks and then retires? I hear talk about moving him to a contender but I think the tank is about empty for him.
Certainly possible. Based on how he finished last season I think he could still contribute in a more limited role. I think it all depends on his health and not sure anyone knows where that is at. He would be a great guy to keep around to mentor young players if he wants to do it. My guess is he plays this year in Chicago and then signs a short term deal for a few million a year with a playoff contender. Even if requests a trade I’m just not sure it’s realistic. Hawks would have to eat a ton of salary and still wouldn’t get much back I don’t think.
 
#166      
Certainly possible. Based on how he finished last season I think he could still contribute in a more limited role. I think it all depends on his health and not sure anyone knows where that is at. He would be a great guy to keep around to mentor young players if he wants to do it. My guess is he plays this year in Chicago and then signs a short term deal for a few million a year with a playoff contender. Even if requests a trade I’m just not sure it’s realistic. Hawks would have to eat a ton of salary and still wouldn’t get much back I don’t think.
Yeah Toews is a tough situation. Which makes the Kane situation tougher. Somehow Kane, Toews and Seth Jones all have the same agent btw. That's a really tough job at the moment, those three players have wildly divergent interests in this mess.

Sports agenting stuff borders on conflict of interest at times, which is a whole other conversation.

But the upshot is pretty simple: if Kane and Toews walk for nothing, the franchise took the wrong direction in authorizing the Davidson demolition.

And for two franchise legend inner circle Hall of Famers abandoning the only team they've ever known not to get covered in the press as organizational suicide (which it won't be, but absolutely would have been 20 years ago) shows how wrongheaded and backwards sports discourse has gotten around the subject of "rebuilding".
 
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#167      
Yeah Toews is a tough situation. Which makes the Kane situation tougher. Somehow Kane, Toews and Seth Jones all have the same agent btw. That's a really tough job at the moment, those three players have wildly divergent interests in this mess.

Sports agenting stuff borders on conflict of interest at times, which is a whole other conversation.

But the upshot is pretty simple: if Kane and Toews walk for nothing, the franchise took the wrong direction in authorizing the Davidson demolition.

And for two franchise legend inner circle Hall of Famers abandoning the only team they've ever known not to get covered in the press as organizational suicide (which it won't be, but absolutely would have been 20 years ago) shows how wrongheaded and backwards sports discourse has gotten around the subject of "rebuilding".
Maybe you can help me understand your logic on Kane and Toews walking for nothing being an indictment of this demolition.

It sounded like you agree that Toews has no value at this point in a trade. How that is Davidsons fault I don’t see. Do you think they should sign him to an extension now? Kane has a no trade clause so you can’t get anything for him unless he wants to go. Again, Davidsons hands are tied there. I’m pretty sure if you hooked Davidson up to lie detector he would fail miserably if he said he hopes Kane sticks around and plays out the year. I’m sure he would love to move him for picks or prospects but that is up to Kane and no one else.

I think where we differ here is how the Blackhawks should “treat” their future hall of famers and to what extent should they prioritize keeping them around versus taking that emotional connection out of it and doing whatever is needed to develop the next great team.

Salary caps have changed how you have to look at these things. There was a time when you could pay guys for their past performance and contributions to the team and not be penalized. Signing guys like Kane and Toews to extensions just because they are future hall of famers can be done but I would argue it’s a recipe for disaster.
 
#168      
It sounded like you agree that Toews has no value at this point in a trade.
So long as he's healthy it's not none, but it's less than Kane and you'd have to retain salary.

Both Kane and Toews probably have more robust markets at the deadline, I doubt anything happens before the season.
How that is Davidsons fault I don’t see. Do you think they should sign him to an extension now? Kane has a no trade clause so you can’t get anything for him unless he wants to go. Again, Davidsons hands are tied there. I’m pretty sure if you hooked Davidson up to lie detector he would fail miserably if he said he hopes Kane sticks around and plays out the year. I’m sure he would love to move him for picks or prospects but that is up to Kane and no one else.
Oh there is zero doubt Davidson has been doing his best to induce trade requests from Kane and Toews from the moment he took the job. Whether ownership has demanded he handle it that way rather than forthrightly, or whether that's his own initiative I don't know. Who knows how Kane and Toews would have handled straightforward asks to waive their clauses.
Salary caps have changed how you have to look at these things. There was a time when you could pay guys for their past performance and contributions to the team and not be penalized. Signing guys like Kane and Toews to extensions just because they are future hall of famers can be done but I would argue it’s a recipe for disaster.
Good options were not available to Davidson. Stan Bowman left a total mess (that got way, WAY worse in his final offseason. He should have been fired rather than being allowed to make the Seth Jones trade. Take the keys right at that moment and this is a brighter situation. Alas)

Keeping the faith with Kane and Toews and trying to patch up a playoff team the best you can with little cap wiggle room is a tough, low probability path to success.

My point above all is that tanking from the situation Davidson inherited is ALSO a tough, low probability path to success. That is the clear lesson of the evidence, as opposed to the Smart Internet Guy ideology. And just like the first path, it hinges on making the right moves with critical resources. Which did not happen with DeBrincat or Dylan Strome, the simpler assets to work with. Kane and Toews are more difficult situations, and walking for nothing would be another, even larger failure.

Davidson's alibis are that tanking is a reasonable assurance of a brighter day 5 years from now and that no other choice offered any possibility of hope. Neither one is true.

And on some level I shouldn't be so harsh on Davidson, who was obviously crystal clear about his plans when seeking the job. He never lied to anyone about what he was going to do. It was Blackhawks management that bought into the bill of goods and made the choice.
 
#169      
I guess it depends on what your goals and expectations are for the franchise. You've mentioned morality and cast heavy dispersions on tanking, so I'm thinking you believe teams should make every effort to be competitive every year. Overall, I think this is a reasonable approach and I'd personally rather the Hawks be more like the Steelers or even the Bruins, where there seems to be a consistent emphasis on a winning culture from the top down. Those franchises don't bottom out, but I also don't think they are legit championship contenders at this point. That's where the "embrace the tank" motto is relevant. Some may think it's just a coincidence, but the reality is Cups in the last 10+ years have been won almost exclusively by teams with top 2 picks as stars. Toews was 3 OA and Makar 4 OA (and yes, I expect that kid to dominate for the next ~7 years), so maybe expand it to top 5. So if you want to be more than just competitive and actually win it all, the recent history says you need to draft superstars. As you know, all of the people who are paid to evaluate hockey talent believe there are multiple superstars in next year's draft.

Good options were not available to Davidson. Stan Bowman left a total mess (that got way, WAY worse in his final offseason. He should have been fired rather than being allowed to make the Seth Jones trade. Take the keys right at that moment and this is a brighter situation. Alas)

Keeping the faith with Kane and Toews and trying to patch up a playoff team the best you can with little cap wiggle room is a tough, low probability path to success.

My point above all is that tanking from the situation Davidson inherited is ALSO a tough, low probability path to success. That is the clear lesson of the evidence, as opposed to the Smart Internet Guy ideology.

Definitely agree with this, with another qualifier on what "success" means. If success is playoffs, that certainly could have been accomplished without blowing it up. If success is the Cup, I don't think there's any chance at all that would have happened. That window has been closed for several years now.

I'm not sure who this mythical "Smart Internet Guy" is that you are arguing against, but literally all paths have a low probability of winning a Cup. It's only a question of whether "blow it up" is better than other options. Yes, I miss playoff hockey and I'd like to be competitive, but honestly I'm still pretty satisfied from the 3 Cups, so if it's 5+ years before that happens again I'm not going to be mad about it.


Oh there is zero doubt Davidson has been doing his best to induce trade requests from Kane and Toews from the moment he took the job. Whether ownership has demanded he handle it that way rather than forthrightly, or whether that's his own initiative I don't know. Who knows how Kane and Toews would have handled straightforward asks to waive their clauses.

It's 100% true that Davidson is trying to be as bad as possible next year. I also think there's 0% chance that Davidson was thinking, "Boy, if I just don't tender Strome maybe Kaner will ask out." This team will be plenty bad with Toews and Kane on it. I hope you don't really think Davidson hasn't had real conversations with those two.

I do expect Kane to be dealt to a contender at the deadline. He's an absolute weapon for a playoff team at 50% retained and should bring a very nice return. There's zero reason for Kane to ask out right now. He's much better off waiting until the deadline to pick his destination.

And on some level I shouldn't be so harsh on Davidson, who was obviously crystal clear about his plans when seeking the job. He never lied to anyone about what he was going to do. It was Blackhawks management that bought into the bill of goods and made the choice.

Agreed. The plan clearly is to have 2 or 3 top 5 picks in the next 3 years, hope 2 of them turn out to be elite players, and then build another championship core around those guys. That's what Davidson sold to the Wirtz clan during the interview and he's executing on that. You may not like it, but it's a plan.
 
#170      
You've mentioned morality and cast heavy dispersions on tanking, so I'm thinking you believe teams should make every effort to be competitive every year.
I'd say my view on the subject is that tanking is unsportsmanlike and poisonous to these teams and leagues as institutions, but that ultimately the responsibility lies with the leagues to tamp it out rather than the teams themselves.

But I also firmly believe (with variations for the different sports and different team situations) that tanking is both more difficult to do right and less likely to be successful even if you do than the conventional wisdom, and that this bad conventional wisdom is deeply rooted in the sports media and then modeled by fans.
Some may think it's just a coincidence, but the reality is Cups in the last 10+ years have been won almost exclusively by teams with top 2 picks as stars. Toews was 3 OA and Makar 4 OA (and yes, I expect that kid to dominate for the next ~7 years), so maybe expand it to top 5. So if you want to be more than just competitive and actually win it all, the recent history says you need to draft superstars.
Kane (and Marc Andre Fleury, btw) was the #1 pick, Toews and Dylan Strome were #3, and Seth Jones was #4. And Kane is unequivocally a superstar by any metric. This dog doesn't hunt for these Blackhawks, or really for hockey generally. I can't recall a team that was deep and good but just lacked the elite Hart Trophy-type sniper to get them over the hump. In fact a lot of teams like that do win Cups (the 2019 Blues spring immediately to mind, or the aforementioned Bruins). Whereas the NHL graveyard overflows with teams that had elite top line scorers but didn't have the quality in depth to grind out a playoff series, the Oilers being just the latest example.

(In the NBA of course it's very much the opposite, changing the tanking calculus there somewhat)

The latter is what the Hawks have lacked, with the salary cap admittedly a prime culprit, but poor coaching and GMing also prominent.
As you know, all of the people who are paid to evaluate hockey talent believe there are multiple superstars in next year's draft.
For the record, I acknowledge the reality that 2022-23 is a uniquely good year to be bad. But, draft capital in that draft has not been maximized.
literally all paths have a low probability of winning a Cup.
Correct. Important to remember. The idea that if you're "courageous" enough to destroy your team you are rewarded with being the 2016 Cubs is a poisonous notion that's very widely held.
It's only a question of whether "blow it up" is better than other options. Yes, I miss playoff hockey and I'd like to be competitive, but honestly I'm still pretty satisfied from the 3 Cups, so if it's 5+ years before that happens again I'm not going to be mad about it.
But that doesn't answer the question does it? Is it better than other options? There's such a deep ideology that open-ended total abandonment of any attempt at success is a "plan" in a way just trying to get better isn't. That's a non-falsifiable hypothesis.

The Hawks were closer to success a year ago than they are now. Both are bad situations, but this one is worse. And this would be a better situation if the intent was to use the rapidly opening cap space to try and install long term cornerstone talents starting next offseason, but that is absolutely not Davidson's intention, it is already clear. This is Hockey Hinkie.
He's an absolute weapon for a playoff team at 50% retained and should bring a very nice return.
Yup. The expectation of that big return is central to this strategy, let's see.
The plan clearly is to have 2 or 3 top 5 picks in the next 3 years, hope 2 of them turn out to be elite players
On this we precisely agree. And to call that a "plan" is I think, frankly, absurd. I don't really know what else to say. In five years this franchise will almost certainly be nowhere, even with Conor Bedard.
 
#171      
I'd say my view on the subject is that tanking is unsportsmanlike and poisonous to these teams and leagues as institutions, but that ultimately the responsibility lies with the leagues to tamp it out rather than the teams themselves.
I don't think tanking is a good look for anyone. The NHL obviously has the lottery to reduce the certainty of this strategy. Not sure what else can be done.

I think it's a byproduct of 50% of the league missing the playoffs. When less than 25% of teams missed the playoffs, I can only remember the Pens tanking for Lemieux.

Kane (and Marc Andre Fleury, btw) was the #1 pick, Toews and Dylan Strome were #3, and Seth Jones was #4. And Kane is unequivocally a superstar by any metric. This dog doesn't hunt for these Blackhawks, or really for hockey generally.
I certainly never said having high picks on a team guarantees success. We've already agreed last year was wasted needlessly by this organization.

I can't recall a team that was deep and good but just lacked the elite Hart Trophy-type sniper to get them over the hump. In fact a lot of teams like that do win Cups (the 2019 Blues spring immediately to mind, or the aforementioned Bruins).
This is just wrong. The Blues are literally the only team in the last 10 years to win a Cup without a top-2 stud leading the way.

Every year there are really good teams that don't win the Cup. Is this 10-year stretch just some anomaly? No idea. If I had to point to commonality, I'd say having elite players on team-friendly contracts is most crucial for success. The salary cap has changed everything. You need a management team that can convince star players to leave money on the table in order to pursue Cups. A friendly state tax code doesn't hurt either.

On this we precisely agree. And to call that a "plan" is I think, frankly, absurd. I don't really know what else to say. In five years this franchise will almost certainly be nowhere, even with Conor Bedard.
There's nothing "courageous" about predicting failure for this plan, as that is the most likely result. If you don't mind, please detail your alternative "plan" and list the results you expect with a high degree of probability. What would be achieved and where are we in 5 years with reasonable certainty?
 
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Not sure what else can be done.
Paying young players more and giving them earlier and more meaningful access to free agency. Leagues don't want to do this for obvious reasons, but that dramatically reduces the incentive to tank.
This is just wrong. The Blues are literally the only team in the last 10 years to win a Cup without a top-2 stud leading the way.
Top 2 is fun with selected endpoints given that the Lightning won their first Cup without Steven Stamkos.

You're using Victor Hedman and Drew Doughty for a lot of weight there. This line of argument just doesn't work when you have Patrick Kane, I'm sorry. Same exact idea of a grizzled veteran star. The Blackhawks have the thing you're claiming is necessary, period, end of discussion.
You need a management team that can convince star players to leave money on the table in order to pursue Cups. A friendly state tax code doesn't hurt either.
Not that any of this is wrong, but you're well afield of tanking as a plan here.

Kyle Davidson can do many things, but he's not going to defeat JB Pritzker for Governor.
If you don't mind, please detail your alternative "plan" and list the results you expect with a high degree of probability.
There is no high degree of probability as we've discussed and agreed upon.

But, just try to be good. Try and scout the best players you can with the cap space and draft picks you've got, and coach them well.

Oh that's dumb, that's ignorant, that's unsophisticated, that's not what the industry REALLY is, you don't ACTUALLY win big that way. Well, there's the ideology talking, that's my entire point here.
 
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But, just try to be good. Try and scout the best players you can with the cap space and draft picks you've got, and coach them well.
I'm sure you realize this is a non-answer. In fairness, it was a difficult question, but I only asked it that way because you refused to even elevate what Davidson is doing to the status of "plan". It was a hard puzzle to solve, no doubt, and that's why I can understand why Davidson punted.
 
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you refused to even elevate what Davidson is doing to the status of "plan".

Davidson punted.
We're not even really disagreeing here.

Anyway, GarPax and Stan Bowman both left total messes at the United Center. Arturas Karnisovas went to work making chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what, and Kyle Davidson has decided to explore new levels of cynicism in hockey.

The Bulls will have the brighter long-term future, that is where I'm placing my bet.
 
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Might be a few lean years on the ice, but at least the Hawks won't be doing anything to alienate their fanba.....



awkward matt stone GIF