Chicago Blackhawks

Are the Blackhawks' biggest rivals close to contention?

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The Blackhawks were bad last season. That’s how the greatest prospect since Connor McDavid ended up onstage Wednesday night in a Blackhawks jersey.

But before the ping pong balls fell Kyle Davidson’s way, it probably eased a bit of pain for fans to know their biggest rivals were bad, too. That, of course, means the Blackhawks weren’t the only team leaving the first round with an arsenal of talent.

Along with the No. 9 and 10 picks, respectively, the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues each had multiple first-round picks. The Nashville Predators, who were better than Detroit and St. Louis last season but still bad enough to miss the playoffs, also picked twice on Wednesday.

Here’s a list of who the Blackhawks’ biggest foes snatched in round one:

Detroit Red Wings

No. 9: Nate Danielson, C

No. 17: Axel Sandin Pellikka, D

St. Louis Blues

No. 10: Dalibor Dvorsky, C

No. 25: Otto Stenberg, C

No. 29: Theo Lindstein, D

Nashville Predators

No. 15: Matthew Wood, RW

No. 24: Tanner Molendyk, D

The Blackhawks committed to a rebuild with their chest and lucked into a situation where the path is crystal clear. The road to success isn’t as obvious for everyone, though, so it’s hard to tell when the Red Wings, Blues and Predators will be legit contenders again.

The Red Wings are four exhausting years into a full-scale rebuild and still don’t have a top-50 player in the league to show for it, according to ESPN. The Blues traded away two franchise cornerstones but seem iffy about tearing the whole thing down. It’s unclear what the Predators’ plan is at this point. They traded Ryan Johansen to the Avalanche for next to nothing earlier this week, but they might have trouble moving veterans like Matt Duchene and Roman Josi, which means a legitimate rebuild could take a while.

As of right now, the Blackhawks are the farthest away from contention of the four teams. But unless some big moves are made, having a clear and tangible direction in Connor Bedard feels like kind of a leap frog.

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