Blackhawks' tank job is blatant and understandable

Chicago is tearing down its roster in a full rebuild that will get worse before it gets better but with Connor Bedard and a strong draft class on offer next season, the Blackhawks strategy is an understandable one, even if not palatable to hockey fans.

Video Transcript

JULIAN MCKENZIE: And one team in particular is Chicago. They've offloaded Kirby Dach in the last how many days. They offloaded Alex DeBrincat for a deal that I think is very underwhelming. They're letting go of Dylan Strome. They're not giving him a qualifying offer. And everyone's wondering what the hell Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are thinking at a time like this. Is this not the most blatant attempt at tanking we've seen in the modern era, at least?

Like, it's very blatant. There are teams that have been bad, but, like, this is very clearly, like, a team that's saying, screw it, we're not going to play well, we're going for Connor Bedard, and it doesn't matter if we're not going to get full value for these guys. Like, I don't know. Like, do you guys think it's shameful what they're doing, or what do you guys think of how Chicago is going about the rebuild?

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I don't mind it personally. I mean, that's what you got to do, and it's got to do in the NHL these days. You can't be mediocre. If they stood on their current trajectory, they would have been mediocre for a long time. I think it's a little self-serving for Kyle Davidson. I'm sure he's not surprising anybody. But I think, hey, can I lengthen my professional leash as long as possible? Yeah. This is how you do it, by trading away people that are just coming out of entry-level.

Fifth or 40-goal scorers that are at the top 10 in the last five years, that's someone that could see the other side of a rebuild. But he's choosing not to have that because he wants to carry this all the way through. So you know, he won the job interview process. I'm sure this is what he pitched, so good on him for executing his plan. I'm not going to nitpick what he's doing because teardowns are teardowns. It's not always pretty. And oftentimes, it's ugly.

And I guess he's going through the ugly process right now. And I feel like he's almost daring Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to issue a trade request. Only one more year pain for them if they want to see it through. But I feel like he'd love to trade those chips in as well.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: How about you Avry?

AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: I feel with the rebuild, you need some young chips still to be in a roster. So to me, trading away DeBrincat to me is kind of odd for nothing. You need some young chips to help your prospect come in for a rebuild. So I felt that was kind of odd to trade away DeBrincat, even this rebuild. But no, I think-- it's a great point Justin said-- he's daring Toewes and Kane to ask for out. And if I were Kane or Toews, I'm 33, 34, why am I staying here?

Hell, no. Trade me out of here. I don't want to play if you're going to be a 21-win team for the next year and a half. No way. Deal me, please.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah. Sam, what about you?

SAM CHANG: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a solid strategy, and it's the perfect rebuttal to the many people who are like, you can't tank, like, you can't ask players to go out there and try to lose games. Like, no one's ever suggested that that's how you tank. This is how you tank. You take apart your team, and you ice a really bad roster for a few seasons. I think it's worked for a few other teams. Like, look at Colorado the year that they just ended up dead last.

You eat it for a few years, and it's a good way to rebuild. I thought--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It is.

SAM CHANG: --the more interesting thing was the Islanders trade.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: [LAUGHS] Yeah, they ended up getting, like, a-- I still can't believe they got, like, Alexander Romanov, like, this weekend. Like, out of all of that. But I still think with Chicago, like, it's still kind of-- like, we know what you're doing. And people are going to say, like, oh, well, last place doesn't guarantee first overall. But the top three might actually still be really good, so people-- we're going to hear a lot of people say, like, you're guaranteed top three next year, and it's just going to be super, super annoying.

But I also get it. I also understand.

SAM CHANG: I mean, if next year's draft is supposed to be the closest to 2003 or 2015 that we've seen in a while, this is the year to do it.

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