Blackhawks deal DeBrincat and Dach for draft picks, take defenseman Kevin Korchinski with No. 7 pick
Knee-jerk reactions are always risky.
Because in the end you can be dead wrong.
But the Blackhawks trading Alex DeBrincat to Ottawa on Thursday for three draft picks (this year's seventh and 39th, and a third-rounder in 2024) feels like a truly horrendous move.
Then -- as the 2022 NHL draft was underway -- newly minted GM Kyle Davidson made two more deals:
• First, he shipped Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for the 13th and 66th picks. This was no surprise as Dach, taken No. 3 overall in 2019, hasn't lived up to expectations.
• Davidson later acquired goalie Petr Mrazek and the 25th overall pick from Toronto in exchange for the Hawks' 38th overall pick. They used the 25th pick to take high school defenseman Sam Rinzel, 18, who registered 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 21 games with the Waterloo Black Hawks after recording 38 points (9 goals, 29 assists in 27 games with his high school team in Minnesota.
Just a day ago, I wrote the Hawks needed to bring in an absolute haul if they were going to move DeBrincat.
And this was no haul.
"We feel as if this move sets the Blackhawks up for future success by giving us additional flexibility and future talent," GM Kyle Davidson said in a statement. "Securing this early of a first-round pick ... and an additional second-round selection (Friday) allows us to fortify our prospect base with high-end players who we expect to be a difference makers in the coming years."
OK. But can Davidson and his team pull that off?
He used the seventh overall pick to select 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman Kevin Korchinski. The Saskatoon native had 4 goals and 61 assists in 67 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL (juniors). Korchinski is said to have excellent offensive skills, but needs to grow into his defensive game.
"We truly got our guy," Davidson said.
At No. 13, the Hawks took speedy forward Frank Nazar, who spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team. The Detroit, Michigan native has a lethal shot and was expected to go in the top 10.
At No. 25, the Hawks took 6-foot-4, 177-pound D-man Sam Rinzel, who hails from Waconia, Minnesota.
What to expect?
During many drafts, the No. 7 pick turns into an extremely good player.
Examples of solid guys taken Nos. 7-10 since 2014 include forwards William Nylander, Nikolaj Ehlers, Timo Meier, Mikko Rantanen and defensemen Ivan Provorov and Zach Werenski.
But go back and look at the 2016 draft. There are a lot of whiffs in the top 15, including Buffalo's selection of Alex Nylander at No. 8.
Then, in 2017, Vegas took Cody Glass at No. 6 and the Rangers took Lias Anderson at No. 7. Neither player has done squat in the NHL.
The top of Dach's 2019 draft class isn't exactly shining either.
Most pundits have tagged the 2022 draft as underwhelming, so it's fair to wonder what kind of player Korchinski will become.
Bottom line: the Hawks better have hit a home run. Actually, make that a grand slam.
Losing DeBrincat -- who will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights after next season -- could have serious ripple effects when it comes to Patrick Kane. Back in April, Kane and Jonathan Toews both expressed hope that the Hawks' rebuild would go faster than expected.
Kane talked about being a mentor to up-and-coming prospects, then added that it would be easier if DeBrincat were still around. "Then that makes it easier for me too, right?" Kane said. "Because I'm playing every day and he's such a good player and it makes it fun to be out there with him."
With DeBrincat gone one has to wonder if Kane isn't seriously considering waiving his no-movement clause.
The saddest part for Hawks fans is multitiered.
Not only is the organization losing a heckuva hockey player, they are also losing a young man with all kinds terrific intangibles. DeBrincat's work ethic in the off-season was second to none. His tenacity on the ice was contagious. His offensive ice awareness is right up there with Kane's, and his defensive ability only continued to grow over the years.
After all, how many 5-foot-7 guys who score 40 goals a year do you see itching to get out on the penalty kill?
DeBrincat has four 25-goals seasons in five campaigns. Twice he surpassed 40, including last season when he scored 41 times. Only seven players have more goals since 2017-18.
It's a big loss -- and over time we'll likely see just how big.
As for Dach, he was taken too high by former GM Stan Bowman and then rushed to the NHL. None of that is Dach's fault, but he likely won't be anything more than a third-line center on a playoff team.
So with DeBrincat and Dach gone we can officially slam the brakes on all the "fast rebuild" talk we heard a couple of months ago.
It's going to be a long road. So strap in and get ready for a bumpy ride.
By the numbersAlex DeBrincat's career stats
Season GP G A Pts.
2017-18 82 28 24 52
2018-19 82 41 35 76
2019-20 70 18 27 45
2020-21 52 32 24 56
2021-22 82 41 37 78
Totals 368 160 147 307
Note: 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons shortened to 70 and 56 games, respectively, due to COVID
Leading goal scorers since 2017-18Player Goals
1. Alex Ovechkin 222
2. Auston Matthews 219
3. Leon Draisaitl 204
4. Connor McDavid 193
5. David Pastrnak 181
6. Kyle Connor 176
7. Nathan MacKinnon 167
8. Alex DeBrincat 160
8. Steven Stamkos 160