It was the beginning.
The Blackhawks’ rebuilding should have a solid foundation after making three first-round picks and eight in the first 90 in this month’s draft.
Time will tell how Kyle Davidson’s first draft is ChicagoThe general manager is gone, of course, but that could be a positive start. And with four more picks in the first round and 11 picks in the first three rounds over the next two years, the Blackhawks should have enough chances to revamp their potential pool even further.
Now, their priority should be to find the “widget” to put all those players around. They need an anchor. They need a star.
To do so, the Blackhawks must position themselves to select an elite player in 2023 NHL Draft. If they were to conduct the organization’s talent as much as they have – perhaps even more Depending on what Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toyos decided to do The reward should be to have the talent of generations. Otherwise, this is all a waste and only prolongs its reconstruction.
Fortunately for the Black Hawks, there are at least two players in next year’s draft who fall into this star category: Conor Bedard, a Canadian midfielder, and Matvey Michkov, the Russian winger. The debate over who would be the best player in the NHL has been going on for a few years now, but most evaluators believe that both will be special.
Davidson is looking to build a team with Bedard and Michkov in mind.
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The Black Hawks were the sixth worst team last season, and they’ve downgraded across the board since then. They underestimated their scoring, depth, and purpose. They will have some competition – Arizona Coyotes He’ll be in the mix again – but that’s not far from conceivable, especially if Davidson ships more talent on the trade deadline, envisioning them to be the worst team in the league after 82 games next season.
The Blackhawks won’t admit that was the plan, but they Amateur Scouting Director Mike Donaghy, He was very honest about their point of view at the top of next year’s draft.
“If you’re going to be bad, this is probably the year to do it because you know what the next three (choices) could be,” Donigi recently said. “Up until this year, you’re really not fond of top draft. But next year, it’s like, yeah, if I’m going to be bad and you get one of these guys, then well, you can enjoy it more.”
Donigi and I have talked more about next year’s draft, but first let’s touch on the odds of the Black Hawks landing one of those talents.
Neither the Blackhawks Bedard nor Michkov is guaranteed, even if they end up in last place. The worst team can go down as much as the third pick in the NHL lottery. This isn’t the end of the world, as Canadian midfielder Adam Fantelli, the third player Donigi was referring to, was also highly encouraged. It’s not in that first category for many raters, but it’s not far off.
Byron Bader, Data Scientist, NHL Project Consultant and Website Publisher Hockey ExplorationLee explained, “Both (Bedard and Michkov) have the early signs of ‘generational talent.’ The Sky high equations D-1 and D-2 refer to generational talent—a point for each player plus player over their career. Fantilli doesn’t look quite alike. He may be a star in his own right but he doesn’t look quite as sure as Bedard and Myshkov. We’ll have to wait until next season to find out more about where he is.”
What does the talent of generations mean in the Badr model? pointed to Sidney CrosbyAnd the Conor McDavidAnd the Auston MatthewsAnd the John TavaresAnd the Jack EichelAnd the Jack Hughes And the Patrick King.
So yeah, the Blackhawks can use that to really reignite their rebuilding.
Others in this exploratory world feel the same way.
“I think Bedard and Michkov have a chance to be top-tier scorers in the NHL,” said Chris Peters, an NHL prospects analyst and prospects analyst for FloHockey. “Neither of them have been particularly big or strong at this point in their careers and neither is a blazing player, but they score at a level unlike players of their age that I’ve seen. We’re talking about really special players. I think Bedard might be one of the best pure shooters out there. I saw them.Michkov is a genius hockey player.I haven’t seen anyone with his hockey attacking sense and his ability to exploit goalkeepers.
“Those two are in a class of their own, but Fantilli feels like a brick of a franchise. He’s fast, big, strong and knows how to score. There’s a bunch of other good guys in those top ten too. If Chicago goes through what we think they’re going for and they end up with Bedard or Michkoff” It’s worth it. If they get Fantilli, it’s probably worth it, but he’s someone I need to see more of before I tag along as a Superstar in the future. The other two I feel very confident in.”
Athletic Scott Wheeler was ahead of all three players as well, but he put Beddard in a different category.
“I have complete faith that all three guys will live up to the hype,” Wheeler said. “Bedard Roof Superstar”. It’s the kind of potential that will completely change the trajectory of the rebuilding team and really speed up the process. I fully expect him to have an immediate impact in the NHL in a way that the last #1 picks didn’t. The way he skates, deals with disc, attacks, and shoots in particular. His ability to scrape his blade from hacked positions is really unique), I think he’s got 50 goals upside.
“And Michkov and Fantilli are really high-level prospects, A-plus, too. The former has all the tools of a first line winger and a point in every game. The latter is the perfect big position for every team with skill, strength and speed. He has become a great skater. They might not have them. Beddard’s superstar ceiling, but it’s very likely that they’re superstars, and there are some who think stardom might be in the cards for them, too. Three of the best prospects in years.”
It’s very clear that Beddard is the player to make if Blackhawks get the first pick. He could be in their NHL squad as soon as possible in the 2023-24 season and could be tempting enough for Kane to commit to playing with him.
Now, if the Blackhawks end up with the second pick, that gets even more complicated.
Michkov is probably the smart choice out there given his potential as of today, but his drafting means having to wait a little longer. He signed with SKA in the KHL during the 2025-26 season. This means he is not likely to come to the NHL until at least the start of the 2026-27 season. He’d be just shy of his 22nd birthday then.
Davidson sells patience to the fans and the front desk, and it seems like everyone is buying. But would that persist if they had to wait longer before another potential star arrived? This is probably asking a lot if fans are dropping in and the bottom line is going down. The Blackhawks will likely want to tap on and off the ice as quickly as possible if they craft a game-changing player. On the flip side, it probably won’t go well, too, if you miss an opportunity to recruit Michkov because you’ve run out of patience and become gifted for generations.
There is an opportunity to raise his game Fantilli this season and put himself in that conversation. Some league sources believe the 6-foot-3 Fantilli is not far behind Bedard and Myshkov and has some traits that set him apart.
“I think he’s a big time guy,” said one league executive. “He can do everything – scores, good skater, makes plays, has skill, physical. He has great work habits. He’s a legitimate five-tool prospect. Bedard/Michkov’s hype is a fever pitch, but they’re both (less than six feet).” In any other year, (Fantilli) would be expected to be No. 1.”
You can expect the Blackhawks to be well studied for all three players coming into next year’s draft.
“Obviously we’ll see them a lot,” Dongyi said. “We’ll see them in every environment, whether it’s international tournaments or league matches, whatever it is.”
Watching Mishkov live will be more difficult as Russia is currently not allowed to participate in any international tournaments. Donighi said he does not have a visa to travel to Russia now, but will rely on the head of European amateur scout Niklas Blomgren, who has a visa to travel there, and Anatoly Semenov, a professional scout in Russia. Doneghey is confident the Blackhawks will know enough about this trio and more potential players in the first round.
“They’re the three at the top right, but there’ll be four or five more guys going to be knocking on the door by the time next year comes,” Donighi said.
This season will be great to follow these players as they battle for the top spot in 2023. As painful as the season may be for Blackhawks and their fans, it will also be interesting to see if the team is really able to reach and finish last to secure themselves a chance at Bedard, Michkov, or Fantelli. Because if the Blackhawks don’t end up with any of them, the rebuilding has already faltered.
(Top photo of Conor Bedard: Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)