In a message to fans, the Chicago Blackhawks affirmed that they are “committed to developing young players,” and told supporters of the club that the team intends to rebuild its roster over the coming months.
The Blackhawks, who traded away forward Brandon Saad and allowed goaltender Corey Crawford to leave the team via free agency this fall, told fans to expect an influx of young players in the coming year, and that they will try to be open and honest with fans as the process moves along.
“We recently said goodbye to a pair of popular, two-time champions and acquired some new players via trade and free agency. We understand it was tough to see those respected veterans go and realize you may have some questions about our direction. We'd like to address that direction and share why we're hopeful for the future of Blackhawks hockey.
“We're committed to developing young players and rebuilding our roster. We want more than another window to win; we want to reach the summit again, and stay there -- an effort that will require a stockpile of emerging talent to complement our top players. The influx of youth and their progression will provide roster flexibility and depth throughout our lineup.
“We were already the youngest team in the 2020 playoffs and several Blackhawks experienced that intensity for the first time; this will help to further establish a culture that embraces the grind of improvement driven by competitors who are relentless, engaged and motivated by a team-first mentality to win.
“As our young players develop and learn how to win consistently, they'll make some mistakes. Inevitably, we'll miss the mark sometimes, too, but we'll communicate openly with you on this journey together.
“We know that what comes next must be more than just words, and that inspires us.”
The Blackhawks reached the NHL playoffs during the postseason tournament in Edmonton, beating the Oilers before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Blackhawks missed the playoffs in the previous two seasons, and now the team will look to move in a new direction under G.M. Stan Bowman.