Derek King remains in running for Blackhawks coaching job
CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said Tuesday that interim coach Derek King remains in the running for the full-time job.
The Blackhawks announced over the weekend that assistants Marc Crawford and Rob Cookson will not return to the organization next season. But Davidson said that doesn’t impact King’s situation.
“With respect to Marc and Rob, we want to have a bit of a clean slate here as we go into the next head coaching and coaching regime,” Davidson said.
Davidson, who took over as general manager when the team dropped his interim tag on March 1, said he would like to hire a head coach by mid-July.
“I don’t think you want to get too far into the offseason without knowing who your head coach is,” he said.
The Blackhawks are picking up the pieces after they finished a miserable 28-42-12 season with a 3-2 overtime loss at Buffalo on Friday night.
In addition to resolving the team’s coaching situation, Davidson also is working on filling out his front office. Jeff Greenberg was hired as associate general manager last week, coming over from the Chicago Cubs to oversee the Blackhawks’ strategic systems and processes in hockey operations.
Greenberg interviewed for the general manager job before the team decided to stay with Davidson. He reached out to congratulate Davidson after he got the job, and their relationship grew from there.
“The systems and the processes they have set up, specifically at the Cubs in Jeff’s case, were things that really appealed to me and I saw great, great value in,” Davidson said. “And coming from where he’s come from in seeing the ground-up build with those systems and those processes in baseball, it’s just something I wanted to add.”
Davidson also faces a couple of intriguing decisions with longtime stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The team also has an unsettled situation at goaltender.
Toews and Kane each have one year left on their contracts, and the team could have extension discussions with the forwards this summer. But their interest in staying on through a rebuild remains unclear.
“There’s definitely a place for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane moving forward,” Davidson said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. What their roles are and how they fit into things, that’s part of the dialogue that we’re having.”
The Blackhawks struggled in net after they traded Marc-Andre Fleury to Minnesota in March, and they could upgrade their goaltending situation this summer. Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia are both eligible for free agency.
“We’re still pretty early in talking about that,” Davidson said. “We definitely need to bring some NHL contracts in. Kevin and Collin are part of that discussion. They’re not out of that candidate list, but there’s some players that we’ll look at in free agency and see which direction we want to go. I’m not ruling out the trade market either. You never know what presents itself.”