The Chicago Blackhawks went through a makeover this offseason, on and off the ice.
Luke Richardson is the new man behind the bench, and Blackhawks' general manager Kyle Davidson enters his first full season after being hired last fall. The Blackhawks also made significant changes to their roster, trading away several young up-and-coming players once considered to be a part of the franchice's future.
Seeing the likes of Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat traded was upsetting for fans, but it was equally as tough for their former teammates.
For Blackhawks legend Patrick Kane, who has spent his entire 15-year career with the team, finding out DeBrincat had been dealt to the Ottawa Senators over the summer was especially hard.
"It's kind of crushing at first when you hear the news," Kane told The Athletic's Scott Powers. "Not only did I feel like we had some great chemistry on the ice, but he was one of my best friends and closest teammates off the ice as well."
DeBrincat had a breakout season for the Blackhawks in 2021-2022. The 24-year-old posted a career-high 78 points (41 goals, 37 assists), earning his first All-Star nod. However, in July, Chicago sent DeBrincat to the Senators in exchange for three draft picks, including this year's No. 7 overall selection.
Kane was also the topic of trade rumors this offseason, with the Blackhawks seemingly headed for a long-term rebuild. However, Kane addressed the rumors, calling them "just a lot of noise right now."
"It was just all rumors," Kane said. "I don't think there was really any legitimate discussions between any team or the Blackhawks, as far as I know."
Kane, who will be 34 in November, is entering the final season of an eight-year, $84 million contract and will be eligible for free agency at season's end.