By: Audrey Fields
Edited By: Kylie Augis
Courtesy of Getty Images
It has only been mere days since the NHL draft commenced and the free agency signing period began, and we are already seeing huge shifts in the league. Not only this, but many teams are making very hefty trades in hopes to strengthen their rosters further. One team that is making these improvements clear is the Chicago Blackhawks, who finished last season with a mediocre record and were last in the central division. After not making playoffs in the 2022-23 season, the Blackhawks are building their roster for what is poised to be a revenge tour in the fall.
Courtesy of Bruce Bennett
As expected, with the #1 overall draft pick of the NHL 2023 draft, the Blackhawks selected young star Connor Bedard. Bedard has been in the media very prominently as of late because of his incredible displays of talent in the game. It had been predicted by all that this selection would be made, and thus began a fresher set of additions to the Chicago roster. They drafted ten other players, all of whom are 20 years of age or younger. These newly pro players have a lot of learning to do, but will be great assets for Chicago in the long run, as a good number of their players are approaching the final years of their NHL careers.
Free Agency and Trades
The draft brought in many fresh faces for the league as a whole, meanwhile free agency and trades within the NHL have been moving around already existing players. The free agency began on July 1, and has seen many players signing contracts with their current teams, or even with new ones. The Blackhawks gained many great players from other teams, more so in exchanges with their current teams than free agents. Chicago signed a one year deal with Tampa Bay Lightning star Corey Perry in exchange for a 2024 draft pick. Perry is a veteran player, originally drafted in 2003 by the Anaheim Ducks, and will surely be a strong addition to the line up. In a trade with the Boston Bruins the Blackhawks gained Taylor Hall, who was drafted first overall in 2010, and Nick Foligno. Both Bruins are left wingers, and will be more than likely to play alongside Bedard. Chicago also added Josh Bailey from the New York Islanders and Joey Anderson from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the roster they are building for the upcoming season.
Although they were often overlooked or dismissed after losing their star Patrick Kane in the 2022-23 season, the Chicago Blackhawks are making it clear to the league and the fans that they are becoming a force to be reckoned with this summer.
Courtesy of Jim Davis