Chicago Blackhawks Duo on Way Out?

Chicago Blackhawk greats and future Hall of Famers

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are arguably one of the greatest duos in Chicago Blackhawks history. They are a part of the Blackhawks dynasty that won three Stanley Cups in six years. Both are going to the Hockey Hall of Fame after retirement. But as it goes in life and the NHL, all good things come to an end.

Change Is Needed

The Chicago Blackhawks are a victim of their long-term success

Chicago finished last season with a 28-42-12 record. Sixty-eight points won’t get a team anywhere near an NHL playoff spot. So there is no doubt that GM Kyle Davidson has seen enough of this group and knows that changes are needed. The breakdown of the Stanley Cup-winning roster has been going on for a long time. Since the Blackhawks won their first one of this era in 2010, they have been forced to dump players because of salary cap issues.
The Blackhawks are now in rebuild mode. That was very clear when they traded their leading goal scorer from last season Alex DeBrincat. Debrincat had 41 goals and 78 points for Chicago last season, good for second on the team. He is a free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season so the Blackhawks flipped him for three draft picks. That move, along with veteran forward Kirby Dach being traded to the Montreal Canadiens, shows that winning now isn’t a priority in Chicago. Stocking up on draft picks is a part of the process, but selling assets is the only way to do it.

Toews Not Interested in Blackhawks Rebuild

Captain Toews doesn’t like the idea of a rebuild

Toews and Kane’s contracts expire at the end of the 2022-23 season. Both deals come with a $10.5M cap hit that will be off the Blackhawks’ books. That might happen sooner than the end of the season. Toews has already publicly said that a rebuild doesn’t appeal to him. The 34-year-old Toews posted 12 goals and 37 points in 71 games last season. He missed the entire previous year due to chronic immune response syndrome. If Chicago were to try and trade him this season they would probably have to eat some salary to make a deal work.

Kane Still Great

Patrick Kane would be a great pick-up for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations

Kane on the other hand is still a top NHL player He tallied 92 points on a bad Chicago hockey team last season. Finding a trade partner close to the deadline is probably what is likely to happen. Teams in “win now” mode and think they have a chance to win a Stanley Cup will be looking to add a player of Kane’s caliber at a reduced rate. It’s unclear what Kane’s thoughts are on the rebuild but one would think he would like out. He probably has one more contract in his career. Being part of a five-year rebuild probably doesn’t sound very good for him or the Blackhawks.

All Good Things…

The Chicago Blackhawks celebrating their third Stanley Cup in six years in 2015

The Chicago Blackhawks had a great run. One of the best hockey fans have seen in decades. But, in today’s NHL staying relevant and competitive year after year can come at an expense. Drafting mid to late first round doesn’t build your system. When players are successful they want to get paid. Decisions on who stays and who goes are made every summer.
Father time hasn’t stopped for this Blackhawks group either. Not many players from those championship teams are even in the league anymore let alone playing in Chicago. Duncan Keith retired after paying this season with Edmonton. Brent Seabrook, Kris Versteeg, and Marián Hossa to name a few are all gone from that core as well. Is Jonathan Toews the next to call it a career?

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About Author

Brent Radlinsky

I am a sports fan, podcaster and amateur umpire. But most importantly a New York Yankees fan. Born and raised in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada. My love for everything in the world of sports has taken me for quite the ride.

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