Dietz: Here's what will likely happen with Blackhawks' Toews and Kane
The Blackhawks are going to be really bad next season.
Make that atrociously bad.
I know. Not exactly a news flash there, right?
As we suspected last week, new GM Kyle Davidson has decided to tear the house -- eh, Hawks -- down to the studs.
So the rebuild is on. Finally, we can say the Hawks have chosen a lane.
In the big picture that's a good thing for Hawks fans. Yes, there will be a lot of losing in the coming seasons, but with the correct draft choices, proper development and the right coaching staff, the Hawks should emerge as serious contenders in 4-6 years.
Then there's the smaller picture -- the one involves Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Will they be in the team photo next season?
Davidson, who met the media inside Fifth Third Arena on Thursday, said he didn't want to handicap the odds "because it's all so fresh." The young GM sat down with Toews and Kane after the draft and had a "healthy" conversation.
"Open communication, open dialogue as it has been in the past," said Davidson, who traded Alex DeBrincat to Ottawa and Kirby Dach to Montreal last Thursday. "It was necessary, I felt. It's never easy losing a great player and great friends off the team. So it was important that we sat down with them."
While Davidson may not want to handicap the odds of Toews and Kane returning, I'm happy to do so.
Let's start with Toews, who didn't score in the first 25 games last season but did finish with 12 goals. Next season may be Toews' last, so you have to think the captain will want one more chance to win a Stanley Cup. The thought here is he waives his no-movement clause, starts the season with the Hawks and is traded in February or March.
Kane's situation is much more interesting because he is still one of the best offensive forwards in the game. He scored 26 goals and dished out 66 assists while never 100% healthy last season. On a bad team, no less.
This is the second time in five years the Hawks unceremoniously traded one of Kane's superstar linemates. Bye-bye, Artemi Panarin. Bye-bye, DeBrincat.
Make no mistake, Kane is upset and weighing his options.
My guess is Kane does one of two things:
• He waives his NMC soon and tells the Hawks to trade him to a contender (the Rangers being his first choice).
• He undergoes surgery and returns around January. He'll play 4-8 weeks for the Hawks, waive his NMC and get dealt to a contender.
Once that happens you can likely kiss Kane goodbye for good. In March, I wrote Kane might return via free agency after asking to be traded, but it's more likely now that he tests free agency next summer and finds a team he can have fun on again.
That, honestly, is what he should do because who wants to close out a Hall of Fame career with a losing, rebuilding franchise?
Nothing beats winning. Kane knows that and he also knows there's only so much time left.
Might as well make the most of it.
So remember all of the good times these two brought you over the years. Because odds are their days as Chicago Blackhawks are almost over.
Dylan Sikura returns:
The Hawks signed forward Dylan Sikura to a one-year, two-way contract Thursday. Sikura, who was drafted in the sixth round in 2014 by the Hawks, shared sixth in the AHL with 73 points for the Colorado Eagles last season. He also played in five games for the Colorado Avalanche.