Blackhawks' Kyle Davidson had 'healthy' dialogue with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews after trades

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Hawks GM Davidson had 'healthy' dialogue with Kane, Toews originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Davidson made it clear when he became the permanent general manager in March that the Blackhawks are going to embark on a rebuild, but the magnitude of it became real this past week when Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat were traded for future assets and the organization walked away from Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome.

Immediately, all the attention turned to the futures of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as they enter the final year of their contracts with the Blackhawks. Davidson met with both of them earlier this week to discuss the latest moves and organizational direction.

"I thought it was healthy, open communication, open dialogue as it has been in the past," Davidson said on Thursday morning. "It was necessary, I felt. It’s never easy losing great players and great friends off the team, so it was important that we sat down."

Even though Davidson has been transparent from the beginning about wanting to keep Kane and Toews in the loop, it's hard to imagine the two franchise icons are fully on board with a tear-down. Same with Seth Jones, whose eight-year extension with Chicago kicks in this year.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun spoke with Pat Brisson — the agent who represents Kane, Jones and Toews — before free agency opened on Wednesday and shed some light on what the three players might be thinking. Brisson said that "while they're not necessarily in agreement with the direction the team is taking, they will let the dust settle first and then patiently make the best decisions for each player as it pertains to their respective careers."

Davidson was asked specifically whether he sensed a buy-in from Kane and Toews after his meeting with them, and here's what he had to say:

"I think that’s probably more of a question for them, but I felt the meeting went well," Davidson said. "Open dialogue both ways. It was a healthy process. They’re both here and chatting with them and keeping that communication open."

To be fair, what's Davidson supposed to say? That it went poorly? It was probably a passionate discussion behind closed doors. I mean, if Toews wasn't happy with Brandon Hagel being traded, how do you think Kane felt about DeBrincat being moved — five years after they did the same with his other favorite linemate Artemi Panarin?

Davidson reiterated that Kane and Toews "offer so much value to being here," but the Blackhawks aren't exactly making it easier on them to want to stick around, which Davidson probably understands. But Davidson wasn't ready to dive deeper into the possibility of Kane and/or Toews eventually wanting out.

"It's really hard to handicap at this point because it's all so fresh," Davidson said. "The draft just happened, a couple trades just happened, free agency was yesterday. It's pretty early in that process, so I don't think I have a fully formed opinion on that one, one way or another right now."

At this point, it feels like Kane, Jones and Toews will be members of the Blackhawks when training camp rolls around in September and they reassess their situations as the trade deadline gets closer or, in the case of Kane and Toews, revisit when their contracts expire.

One thing is for sure: This isn't easy on anyone. The Blackhawks haven't won a playoff series since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and still have one of the shallowest pipelines in the league. They've been spinning their tires for years, and a rebuild feels necessary, even if Davidson, Kane and Toews all hate the fact that it has to be this way.

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