Hawks Insider

Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson ‘fine' with quiet 2024 trade deadline

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Chicago Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson was extremely busy at the 2023 trade deadline, where he made nine moves in the weeks leading up to it, which included franchise icon Patrick Kane.

It was much quieter this time around, as expected. The three players that could have fetched respectable returns — Jason Dickinson, Nick Foligno and Petr Mrazek — signed two-year extensions, and Corey Perry, who likely would have been dealt at the deadline for a decent return, was dismissed from the team in November, so the Blackhawks didn't have an opportunity to get assets for him.

And Davidson knew all that.

"For sure," Davidson said in his 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: Anthony Beauvillier was dealt to Nashville for a fifth-round pick in 2024. That's it.

"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 probably would've liked to weaponize their cap space by taking on a contract or serving as a third-party broker for additional compensation like they did with the Dickinson and Nikita Zaitsev trades a year ago, but the right opportunity never came along. There were quite a few teams this year that got involved 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."

Even though the Blackhawks weren't busy at the deadline this year, Davidson still felt it was 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."

With the trade deadline officially in the rearview mirror, Davidson is now shifting his focus to the 2024 NHL Draft.

"That’s definitely going to take up a lot of the focus now," Davidson said. "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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