An interesting little nugget from Elliotte Friedman in this week's "31 Thoughts"
12. Chicago had one of the largest scouting staffs in the NHL (if not the largest). They will also be making some cuts, mostly on the pro side.
Now I should clarify that this is NOT what I was referring to with the bird image from the 24th. This seems like a small decision here, but it could mean a lot. Who is making this call? Is it Stan? Would he really be the guy to decide that he wants to fire a bunch of guys on his pro-scouting staff? The staff that he built? That seems unlikely to me. It seems like that would be an order that would come from above him, meaning...Danny Wirtz for now. And if Danny Wirtz is actually making staff calls or budget calls about Hockey Ops does that mean he's already putting Stan in his place? Very interesting little kernel that is only interesting because the organization is in flux and nobody knows who is actually in charge of Hockey Ops right now. My guess is that Stan won't be the head of Hockey Ops at the end of this season. He will either be fired or Danny Wirtz will hire a President of Hockey Ops that he trusts who will have veto power over Bowman. Again, purely speculative, but that is where my head went.
In other news...Ian Mitchell might be eligible after all
On Thursday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that we should expect the June 1 entry-level signing deadline to be pushed back another month while the NHL and NHLPA to negotiate the possibility of entry-level players signed during the pause joining their clubs for the potential postseason.
That could mean — after sneaking in under the playoff format at No. 12 in the West and set to take on the No. 5-seeded Oilers — the Blackhawks might be able to add some defensive depth in the form of top defensive prospect Ian Mitchell. Mitchell signed a three-year deal with the team in April.
Big ask for a college kid to jump right into the playoffs against Connor McDavid, but I LOVE the idea of a defense corps that looks like this:
I've seen worse blue lines that. I've seen much worse blue lines than that for the Hawks in the last 36 months. Throw him to the wolves, see how he does, have some fun. I am excited. It's time to play hockey again, might as well throw your most talented guys out there and hope for the best. It feels great to get excited about actual hockey again.