The Chicago Blackhawks new general manager is reportedly not wasting any time in making bold moves within the front office.
According to Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman, GM Kyle Davidson has made the decision to let go of two fixtures within the Blackhawks organization: assistant GM Ryan Stewart and VP of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.
The report was confirmed by Ben Pope of the Sun-Times:
Blackhawks confirm that assistant GM Ryan Stewart and scouting director Mark Kelley have left the organization.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 4, 2022
Mike Donaghey will oversee the Hawks’ amateur scouting on an interim basis, and the Hawks’ pro scouts will report directly to Kyle Davidson.
Kelly, 63, has been the team’s director of amateur scouting since the 2008-09 season after two seasons as a Blackhawks amateur scout, according to this Elite Prospects profile. Stewart, 47, started in Chicago for the 2006-07 season as a video coach, became an assistant coach the following season, spent two seasons as an amateur scout and then two more as a pro scout, worked seven as the director of professional scouting, one as director of player development and the last two as assistant GM. These are both rather high-profile employees who are being let go.
Taking three days to remove two front-office employees with over a decade of tenure with the team will serve as some level of reassurance for those in the fan base who were worried about Davidson being so closely aligned with his predecessor in Stan Bowman.
Considering the Blackhawks recent struggles in the drafting and developing talent along with the consistent poor returns in trades over the last handful of seasons, it’s not surprising to see a new GM step in and steer the organization in a different direction.
Making this decision is one step of the process, of course. Hiring quality replacements for each position will be just as vital as the choice to move on from employees who did not fit with the direction that Davidson wants to take this team.
The successes or failures of the team in the future will ultimately be the judge and jury for Davidson’s tenure as GM. But given how quickly Davidson made a coaching once named interim GM and how swiftly he let go of two long-term executives, it would appear that Davidson is not afraid of making bold decisions.
Here’s hoping those bold decisions are also the correct ones.