Blackhawks News & Rumors: Bedard, Stalock, Soderblom, More

The Chicago Blackhawks are basking in the glory of their luck when they were granted the No. 1 overall pick at the draft lottery on May. 8. Projected to go first overall in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft, Connor Bedard is almost certainly part of the future in Chicago. Let the good times roll!

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This is definitely something to celebrate after the turmoil of the last handful of seasons for the Blackhawks, both on and off the ice. But that’s not all that’s going on with the organization. Let’s get to the latest news and rumors.

Blackhawks Will Also Pick at No. 19

The Florida Panthers punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Final on Friday night when they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, winning the series 4-1. We also know the Tampa Bay Lightning already lost in the first round. As a result, the Lightning’s first-round pick they gave the Blackhawks (in the Brandon Hagel trade) now becomes No. 19 instead of No. 20.

More luck for the Blackhawks!

Brandon Hagel Tampa Bay Lightning
The Brandon Hagel trade was controversial at the time, but now it will result in the No. 19 pick for the Chicago Blackhawks in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The 19th overall pick is nothing to scoff at. If you recall, top prospect Lukas Reichel was the 17th overall pick by the Blackhawks in the 2020 Draft. Many have high hopes for the German forward. As a matter of fact, he’s projected to be a future linemate of Bedard!

Of course, this is pure speculation. But Bedard (once he’s officially selected by the Blackhawks) and Reichel are two of the top prospects for the Blackhawks right now. I would expect both to be playing up with the big club this coming season. This should be a fun team to watch!

Ticket Sales Skyrocket

Speaking of which, the organization is already seeing the impact of obtaining the first overall pick. On the morning of May 9, just 12 hours after the draft lottery, the Blackhawks reported they had sold $5.2 million new season ticket packages. This includes 1,200 actual full-season packages.

Do you think the city of Chicago is excited about Bedard?! After all, he’s going to single-handedly lead the Blackhawks back to playoff contention.

Connor Bedard Regina Pats
Connor Bedard is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft. (Keith Hershmiller / Regina Pats)

Not so fast. Sure, having Bedard in the fold is going to speed up the rebuild. But it takes an entire team to be successful. The Blackhawks will certainly look to build around this top prospect. But he’s only 17 years old! Let’s not get too carried away.

Obviously, fans are going to come out in droves to see Bedard and the rest of these young Blackhawks play. Rightfully so. But there’s still a lot of work to be done, and management knows that.

Davidson’s Plans for the Draft & Free Agency

After the draft lottery, general manager Kyle Davidson was asked if securing the No. 1 pick changed his free agency plans. He indicated it would not. Although, it certainly could fast-track things a little bit, as discussed by the NBC Sports panel.

Kyle Davidson Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawk’s general manager Kyle Davidson and his staff still have a lot of work ahead of them. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

Davidson also talked about all the draft capital the team has accumulated. This gives them so many options, including potentially moving up in the draft. Or not, depending on who’s available as the draft unfolds. The important thing is that the Blackhawks are in a really good position moving forward. It will be fascinating to see who the team acquires in the draft and free agency, as the organization prepares to assemble their squad for the 2023-24 season and beyond.

Stalock Named Finalist for Masterson

The excitement of the draft lottery aside, there were a few other notable happenings in the Blackhawks’ world this past week. Goaltender Alex Stalock was announced as one of the three finalists to receive the Masterson Award, along with Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This award is given once a year to a player that best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Stalock is no stranger to adversity and perseverance. After a bout with Covid back in 2020, Stalock was diagnosed with myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. Overcoming that alone, and returning to play, was monumental. This season, Stalock dealt with a lingering concussion and then ocular dysfunction, both which kept him out for a substantial amount of time.

Related – Chicago Blackhawks’ 2022-23 Player Grades: Goalies

All in all, the 35-year-old suited up for 27 games with the Blackhawks and posted a .908 save percentage and a 3.01 goals against average. That’s not too shabby considering all he’s been through, and the subpar team in front of him. Stalock was definitely a feel-good story for the season. He was also was a favorite with the players both on and off the ice, as he was super outspoken and gave an energy and spark to the team.

The winner of the Masterson Award will be announced at the NHL Awards on June 26.

Murphy Nominated for King Clancy Trophy (Again!)

Another Blackhawk that deserves a shout out is Connor Murphy. The 30-year-old defenseman was nominated for the third consecutive year for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. This is presented “to the player who exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

Connor Murphy Chicago Blackhawks
Connor Murphy of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The fact that this is his third time being nominated just shows what a leader and contributor Murphy has become. He reaches out in the community as well as representing the team in his capacity as alternate captain. Congratulations to Murphy!

Soderblom Re-signed

Finally, the Blackhawks made it official that they want goaltender Arvid Soderblom to be a part of their future. On May 10, the team offered the 23-year-old a two-year extension with an annual cap hit of $962,500.

It’s expected that veteran netminder Petr Mrazek and Soderblom will be the tandem in net for the Blackhawks this upcoming season. Soderblom spent the majority of the 2022-23 season with the Rockford IceHogs, where he posted .905 SV% and a 2.92 GAA. He did make 15 appearances with the Blackhawks last season, but now it appears he’ll graduate to the big leagues on a more permanent basis. We’ll have to wait and see how the team utilizes both goaltenders.

Related – Blackhawks Seth Jones Finding Motivation in Lost Season

Stay tuned for more news, rumors and analysis as the offseason continues. So far it’s been a pretty exciting start! Blackhawks fans have a lot to look forward to in the 2023-24 season.