Kyle Davidson hasn’t been afraid to be aggressive.
After taking over for Stan Bowman on Oct. 26 as interim general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, Davidson fired then-head coach Jeremy Colliton 11 days later amid an abysmal 1-9-2 start. Since then, Davidson has made a series of trades that have had little impact for the Blackhawks on the ice but have been smart decisions given the team’s current state. Here’s a breakdown of Davidson’s moves so far, grading each one.
Nov. 6: Firing Colliton
Davidson’s first move for the Blackhawks wasn’t a small one. Losing 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets the previous night served as a perfect metaphor for Chicago’s season 12 games in, and firing Colliton was not just the right decision but one that was long overdue. His defensive system just wasn’t clicking with the team, and his refusal to start certain players, such as Dylan Strome, was hurting the Blackhawks more often than helping. Colliton also lacked personality, and while character isn’t necessarily the most important factor when it comes to coaching style, his stubbornness and stoic persona weren’t doing Chicago any favors as they continued their season-opening free fall.
Honestly, Colliton was never ready for this gig. When the Blackhawks stumbled to a 6-6-3 start in 2018-19, Bowman rushed to fire three-time Stanley Cup-winning head coach Joel Quenneville and quickly put Colliton in his shoes despite never having coached in the NHL before. Now, the same is true of Colliton’s replacement, interim head coach Derek King, but he has a much more relaxed approach, which has seemed to pay dividends for Chicago both in the locker room and on the ice even if he isn’t the team’s long-term answer behind the bench.
Ultimately, firing Colliton was a move that needed to happen, but it shouldn’t have taken this long for the Blackhawks, especially playing in a tight Central Division. However, that isn’t necessarily Davidson’s fault, and I appreciate his willingness to make the move considering he had been at the helm for such a short period of time.