Top Blackhawks players are “pissed” about letting Corey Crawford and Brandon Saad go

The Chicago Blackhawks are changing and the top players on the team are not happy about it. This sadly is a natural process with any team that has had the sustained success the Hawks have had.

It doesn’t mean the players will like it.

Blackhawks players are upset with moves

In a new article in The Athletic, Mark Lazerus writes a source close to the core Hawks are pissed and have had enough of what management is doing. The captain of the team, Jonathan Toews spoke out about the team letting go of Corey Crawford.

“It’s sad. It’s really disappointing. [Crawford] has given so much to this team,” Toews told Lazerus. “I feel he was ready to bring more in the next few years and still be a big part of this group. He had that mindset that he could help this team go deep in the playoffs again, and there’s no doubt that he could.”

To further upset Toews and players like Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook, the Hawks traded Brandon Saad and let Drake Caggiula and Slater Koekkoek walk. This isn’t what they signed up for.

blackhawks upset
Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford (NHLI)

No one told us we were heading into a rebuild

Toews didn’t stop at those recent decisions, but questioned what is the direction for Chicago. Is this a rebuild now? If so, he isn’t happy about it.

“We prepare ourselves to win a Cup for our fans. I’ve never been told that we were going through a rebuild,” Toews explained. “That has never been communicated to me, for that matter. A lot of this comes as a shock because it’s a completely different direction than we expected.”

So what will the fall out be if any? What are the Blackhawks doing? If this is a rebuild, then why not tell your leaders, just like the Rangers did with Henrik Lundqvist. Let them decide if they want to be part of it. Haven’t they earned that right?

Is this the beginning of the end for Hawks core

In August, we wrote about the possibility of Jonathan Toews moving on. Would he now be willing to waive his no movement clause? He is still under contract through the 2022-23 season, with an AAV of $10.5 million. That’s a big contract to bear, but it could happen.

If Chicago was able to get Toews to alter his NMC, this could be the right time to do it. Since their last official playoff appearance in 2016-17, their regular season record has been a roller coaster. Over the past three seasons, they have finished with 76, 84 and 72 points this season, which resulted in being in last or next to last of the Central Division.

When you step back and look at the Hawks, maybe rebuilding is long overdue. There are many teams looking for a center and who would not love Toews to be in their top six. Certainly something to keep an eye on this season.