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Thursday night’s Flyers-Blackhawks game was going to be the type of “who care’s?” game you often get at the end of any regular season. However, hours before puck drop, the Blackhawks announced that they would not be re-signing captain Jonathan Toews, giving the otherwise meaningless game some weight.
The team announced the news on Twitter with a statement from GM Kyle Davidson.
“I’ve had a number of conversations with Jonathan throughout the season about his future with the Blackhawks, and recently, we had the difficult conversation that we won’t be re-signing him this offseason,” Davidson wrote.
“Tonight will be his final game as a Blackhawk, and it was very important to us to be able to provide the proper send off for Jonathan and our fans. He has done so much for this organization, and no matter where he plays next, we’re excited our fans get the chance to show Jonathan exactly how much he means to them.”
Everyone got the sense that this was coming, but it’s hard not to appreciate that this is the end of one of the NHL’s great modern dynasties. The Blackhawks won three Cups while Toews was wearing the C in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Every other member of those teams has moved on, including Patrick Kane who was dealt to the Rangers in a blockbuster deal earlier this season.
Coincidentally, Toews’ final game will come against the Philadelphia Flyers, the team he and the Blackhawks defeated to win their first Stanley Cup in nearly 50 years back in 2010, effectively kicking off their dynasty.
…as a Flyers fan, I’m definitely not still bitter about Patrick Kane’s game-winner in Game 6.
What’s Next For Jonathan Toews?
The last few seasons have been tough for Toews and not just because Chicago has reverted to being the grease fire it was before he and Kane arrived in the mid-to-late aughts.
I’m talking about the Blackhawks, but the same thing can be said about the city as a whole…
The Blackhawks captain dealt with illnesses and injuries over the last couple of seasons. He missed all of the 2020-21 season due to a battle with Chronic Immune Response Syndrome.
We’ll have to see if Toews decides to hang it up having played every game of his NHL career with the Blackhawks or if he’ll sign elsewhere.
Toews put up 30 points in 52 games this season. That’s actually a better clip than he was scoring last season when he put up 37 points in 72 games. His possession metrics are down, but then again Chicago is so bad, I’m sure most of the team is rockin’ a Corsi For % that’s down from previous years.
Of course, I don’t know how Toews — who will be 35 when the 2023-24 season begins —feels. That said, I think if he wants to play, he could be an appealing free agent to certain teams. He’s not really a top-6 forward for most teams anymore. However, he could be the ticket for a team looking to add depth at center.
Plus, he has a wealth of playoff experience under his belt. He’s a perfect fit for a young team on the cusp of regularly making the playoffs. Especially since he could probably be signed to a one-year deal at a reasonable price.
I think Ottawa would be a perfect spot. Maybe even reunite him with Alex DeBrincat on the Sens’ second line.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle