Jonathan Toews Could Be Facing His Final Season With The Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the club in rebuild mode under general manager Kyle Davidson, the coming season could be the 34-year-old center's last in the Windy City.
In an interview on Tuesday with The Athletic's Mark Lazerus, Toews indicated that the Blackhawks' rebuilding process could take five-plus years. “So, that part of it doesn't sound appealing to me at all.”
Toews also felt the turnover of players on the club over the past three or four years has been “really, really draining. And exhausting.” He pointed to recent trades involving younger players such as Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach. “And out they go, out the door. Over and over, we've seen that turnover.”
Lazerus tweeted that Toews wasn't complaining, bitter, or whining but was simply being honest about the situation. During the interview, he observed that Toews appeared happy, fit, and looking forward to the coming season. He told Lazerus that he felt better than a year ago when he was coming off a career-threatening illness.
Nevertheless, Toews' comments made headlines and raises questions over his future in Chicago and that of long-time teammate Patrick Kane. Like Toews, the 33-year-old Kane is eligible for UFA status next summer.
Both players carry an average annual cap hit of $10.5 million and full no-movement clauses. Given those contracts, moving them could take until the trade deadline if they waive their clauses. Even then, the Blackhawks could retain part of their cap hits to facilitate a deal.
Neither Toews nor Kane have indicated they've reached that point yet. Once the new season begins, however, expect them to pop up frequently in the rumor mill.