Blackhawks' Kyle Davidson reflects on first full season as NHL GM

Hawks' Kyle Davidson reflects on first full season as NHL GM originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Kyle Davidson recently completed his first full season as an NHL general manager, and I'm not sure he'll have another season quite like this one.

Davidson first stripped down the roster over the offseason, shipping out Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat and electing not to re-sign Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome. He acquired three first-round picks on Day 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft after going into the day with zero to jumpstart the full-scale rebuild.

Most notably, Davidson's biggest in-season move came in February when he facilitated a trade for Patrick Kane, arguably the greatest player in franchise history. He probably would have done the same with Jonathan Toews if the Blackhawks captain's health didn't get in the way. He also made 12 other in-season trades. It was certainly a whirlwind.

In his season-ending press conference, I asked Davidson what stood out to him as the biggest learning lesson as he reflected back on the campaign from start to finish.

"It's just honestly being flexible in your approach and thought process," Davidson said. "And what you think is going to happen probably won't, and so just to stop trying to control situations a little bit, because so much is out of your control. There's so much that's out of your control, and only trying to control what I can.

"I can control who we hire, I can control some of the assets we bring in, and I can control the things that we're building in the front office, and then running through and setting up processes to make the best decisions we can. Those are the things I can control.

"I can't control people's trade value, stuff like that, right? You think all day and you run through a million different scenarios, and in the end, what's laid out in front of you is what you've got to deal with, and you’ve just got to be flexible in that. And so, I'd say it's just understanding that I can only control so much."

Davidson acknowledged we won't know for a while what kind of grade he'll actually get for the moves that were made this season, but he's satisfied with how everything shook out, all things considered.

"Honestly, I was really happy with how the trade deadline went," Davidson said. "I was really happy with how Luke [Richardson] and I’s relationship developed over the year. Really pleased with how the build in the front office has gone.

"That's not to say I’ve nailed everything and everything’s gone perfectly, but I think we’ve, the whole hockey operations staff has managed this season very, very well and got exactly what we wanted out of it in terms of progressing young players, developing a culture, acquiring future assets, dealing in the things we can control. I think we’ve managed and controlled those things that are under our control quite well.

"Again that’s my assessment. Other people may think differently, but there’s probably some time that needs to pass before we truly reflect on how I feel about how the season went. But overall, I think it was a very positive step in many steps to come."

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