The Chicago Blackhawks will part ways with captain Jonathan Toews as the team announced that they will not re-sign the 35-year-old center. Having played all his NHL career thus far with the Blackhawks, Toews will become eligible for free agency after having agreed on an $84 million eight-year contract extension in 2014. Although the decision was a “difficult” one, general manager Kyle Davidson made it clear that “we believe this is what’s best for the organization and for Jonathan.”
Toews missed the 2020-21 season due to his health, including long COVID-19 and chronic immune response syndrome, and may possibly be retiring from the NHL but says he has not given it much thought. Throughout the night, the United Center was filled with roars of “Jonny! Jonny!” as it was Toews’ final game in a Blackhawks’ jersey. Toews scored a power-play goal in the second period followed by the crowd giving him another round of applause; this game against the Philadelphia Flyers was a glimpse of the Blackhawks’ winning years with Toews as part of the team’s core group that saw Chicago having the best stretch in franchise history.
Toews led the Blackhawks to win three Stanley Cups and became the 34th captain in team history back in July 2008 at 20-years of age. Alongside Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook, Toews was among the biggest contributors to the modern-day Blackhawks dynasty. Toews departure from the team comes shortly after the trade of another star forward, Patrick Kane (to the New York Rangers), and amidst a challenging year for the Blackhawks, who are among the worst teams in the NHL.
As the Blackhawks enter a new era, Davidson hopes that the decision to not resign Toews would “offer this new era of Blackhawks player the same opportunity that Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, they were all offered when they came in the league.” Although Toews’ departure may feel disheartening among Blackhawks’ fans, he closes out his magnificent run with the Blackhawks, having scored an impressive 372 goals and 511 assists in 1,067 regular-season games, and with a powerful wave to the folks as he left the ice with his head held high.
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