NHL Rumors: Jonathan Toews no fan of rebuild, questions future with Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews
Apr 23, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the first period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to NHL Rumors regarding the Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews does not get as much ink as Patrick Kane.

However, the captain of the Hawks will be a sought after candidate come the NHL Trade Deadline this upcoming season. All contenders want to add center depth come the playoffs and Toews brings that plus the experience of three Stanley Cup championships with him.

Toews, 34, had 37 points in 71 games last season after coming back from a serious health issue. Chronic Immune Response Syndrome kept him out the entirety of the 2020-21 campaign.

For his career, the longtime Blackhawk has 852 points in 1014 contests.

NHL Rumors: Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews
Jan 8, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) warms up before a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

When Corey Crawford was traded back in 2020, Toews voiced his displeasure with the direction of the organization. He questioned if the team was heading for a rebuild without discussing it with the core leadership group.

“We prepare ourselves to win a Cup for our fans. I’ve never been told that we were going through a rebuild,” Toews said at that time. “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.”

The Hawks opted to retool the roster with some big acquisitions last summer. After trading for Marc-Andre Fleury and Seth Jones the team looked liked it was heading in the right direction. Instead, they floundered in the standings and missed the playoffs again.

New GM Kyle Davidson has now shifted to an aggressive rebuild after trading Brandon Hagel, Alex Debrincat, and Kirby Dach. These are moves that have Toews questioning his own future in Chicago.

In an exclusive interview with Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, Toews laid it all out there.

“At the end of the day, we’re talking about a five-plus-year process, according to Kyle,” Toews said. “So that part of it doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I can’t speak for Kaner, but I definitely feel that the amount of turnover our team has gone through every single year these last three or four years, that’s where it gets really, really draining. And exhausting. You have a guy like Alex DeBrincat who was under Kaner’s wing. And I like to think that Kirby and I had that bond in some ways, too. And out they go, out the door. Over and over, we’ve seen that turnover. I’m learning to be more patient, but there’s no doubt that timeline is pretty daunting, and pretty exhausting to think about. So I’m not going to sit here and say what I’m going to do or what the future holds for me, because I really don’t know.”

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It was clear back in 2020 as it is now that Toews is not a fan of rebuilding.

Going forward, the Blackhawks are unlikely to re-sign both Kane and Toews next season. Each are in the last year of their deals that come with a $10.5 million cap hit.

All signs point to them being moved at the deadline with 50% salary retention to teams in contention. That will require them to also waive their full no-move clauses, but of all the potential roadblocks to a trade, that seems the least problematic. If anything, a third team may be needed to help facilitate a deal to drop the cap hit even further for certain teams.