Blackhawks wheel, deal with trades from DeBrincat, roof in 2022 NHL draft

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Blackhawks wheel, deal with trades from DeBrincat, roof in 2022 NHL draft

MONTREAL– The Chicago Blackhawks entered the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Center Thursday with no first-round picks. By the time general manager Kyle Davidson was done filming and acting, they had three.

“I’m sitting where we are right now with the prospects we just took on and I’m damn happy,” he said after the first round.

Whether the effort was worth it remains to be seen.

“It’s been quite a monumental day and huge land shift for the Blackhawks organization,” Davidson said, “but it’s almost the unofficial beginning of our journey and rise there.”

Yes, the Blackhawks added to their stash of prospects by picking defenseman Kevin Korchinski at No. 7, center Frank Nazar at No. 13, and defenseman Sam Rinzel at No. 25. But in order to get the first two, they had to do without young strikers Alex DeBrincat and Kirby roof.

DeBrincat is 24, Dach 21. They have a combined 104 points this season.

Not long ago, they were considered key pieces in a Blackhawks rebuild. No longer.

“It’s difficult to trade a young player, and especially young players like we did today,” said Davidson. “It’s definitely not easy and it’s definitely not fun. It’s no fun doing things you have to do to get where you want to be. There will be tough days like this where you see familiar faces that we in management and the fans know and love but it’s necessary to get where we want to be.

“It’s all about the process. It is our job to ensure that the assets we bring to our decisions are the right ones and they are justified. It’s up to us to make these players players for the long term and that process started today.”

[RELATED: Trade TrackerComplete Draft coverage | 2022 NHL Draft first-round results, analysis]

The Blackhawks traded DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators about three hours before the start of the draft for three picks: Ottawa’s first- and second-round picks (Nos. 7 and 39) in the 2022 draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 NHL draft.

DeBrincat had 78 points in 82 games this season and led Chicago with 41 goals to equal his 2018-19 NHL career high.

Dach, who was drafted No. 3 by Chicago in the 2019 NHL draft, was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the 2022 draft for a first- and third-round pick (Nos. 13 and 66). He had 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 70 games this season.

Chicago then ended a busy night by taking on the goalie Peter Mrazek and the #25 pick in the 2022 draft in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a second-round pick (#38) in the same draft. Davidson said the deal was made primarily to acquire Rinzel.

“I think we have some really high quality prospects in our system,” Davidson said. “Coming today if I thought we were going to add Kevin Korchinski, Sam Rinzel and Frank Nazar I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Davidson said the common thread between all three is elite skating ability.

Korchinski (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) had 65 points (four goals, 61 assists) in 67 regular season games for Seattle of the Western Hockey League this season. The 18-year-old had 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 25 playoff games.

Nazar (5-10, 180) has 70 points (28 goals, 42 assists) in 56 games with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-18 team this season. He will go to the University of Michigan in the fall.

Rinzel (6-4, 180) rotated between Chaska High School in Minnesota and Waterloo of the United States Hockey League this season, averaging 48 points (11 goals, 37 assists) in 48 games. He is signed to the University of Minnesota for next season.

Davidson said Blackhawks fans will have to be patient to see how this young core fares, especially with what Chicago has given up.

“I think it’s difficult every time familiar faces walk out the door, and I get that, but you know what?” he said. “We’re still going to have a team that loves to play for the city of Chicago and loves to wear that Blackhawks sweater and will bring it every night.”

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