Blackhawks ‘open to anything’ in trade negotiations as Kyle Davidson looks toward deadline
“In reality, other than those who are contractually obligated to be untouchable, no one is,” Davidson said Wednesday.
Kyle Davidson was praised Tuesday at his introductory news conference for his open-mindedness when it comes to decision-making and cultural change.
On Wednesday, the now-cemented Blackhawks general manager asserted he’ll be open-minded toward trade negotiations in the coming weeks, too.
As the Hawks initiate the first phase of their rebuild — converting their current players into future assets — Davidson realizes he’s somewhat reliant on what other teams offer, but he’s going to listen earnestly to any and all offers ahead of the March 21 deadline.
“We’re at our current spot now because when you’re trying to win, when you’re trying to maintain [winning], you take from the future to build the present,” he said. “We’ve taken a little bit from the future, and there’s been no next wave. There’s not been enough of a push of talent coming up through the ranks to support the core that’s been here for so long.
“The only way you get assets is by giving up something of value. That’s kind of how it works. Or you can wait long enough that you make the draft picks that eventually come along. But if you want to infuse some volume and some depth of talent into your system more quickly, then you’ve got to move some pieces. I’ll be open to anything.”
He dismissed the concept of “untouchable” players outright.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have full no-trade clauses, Marc-Andre Fleury wields a partial clause supplemented by the de facto full clause the Hawks promised him when they acquired him, and Seth Jones and Jake McCabe wield partial clauses, so Davidson’s freedom is restricted when it comes to those veterans. But outside of them, there are no set-in-stone certainties.
“Whether it’s realistic or not, there’s always a situation where you might get offered something that you can’t turn down,” Davidson said. “In reality, other than those who are contractually obligated to be untouchable, no one is.
“We’re not in a position where we can hold anything back. And I’m not saying that everyone is available; that’s definitely not what I’m saying. But we just have to be open-minded. We have to consider anything that someone comes to us with, and we will do that.”
Davidson said he primarily has conducted general surface-level, “fact-finding” conversations with other teams, although sources indicate some of those conversations have progressed a bit further than that.
With Fleury, Davidson confirmed he and Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, have talked about the goalie’s future. The Hawks respect that “if [Fleury] were to move, he would like to have a chance to win,” and Davidson would be OK with Fleury sticking in Chicago the rest of the season because the players are “learning a heck of a lot” from him.
With Brandon Hagel, who straddles that untouchable line, Davidson said it’s “pretty obvious that he would be a desirable player around the league,” but it’s equally desirable for the Hawks to keep him.
And with Dominik Kubalik, who might be the most likely Hawk to be traded this month, and Dylan Strome, who falls in a similar bucket as Kubalik as a pending restricted free agent having an up-and-down season, Davidson said he’ll weigh the “shorter-term benefits of either keeping players or moving them for futures, or if they’re going to have a role moving forward.”
“These guys bring value: They bring value to us, and they bring value to other teams, as well,” he added. “But we’re happy with where they’re at. Dominik can get hot anytime, and Dylan has been hot in recent memory.”
Davidson also said he’d like to recoup a first-round pick, if possible — the Hawks’ pick will go to the Blue Jackets unless they win the lottery — and wants to focus on replenishing the nearly dry forward-prospect pool.