Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have spent their entire careers together, and 7 years in, it has already been a storied one! Toews was drafted with the 3rd pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and Kane was drafted 1st overall one year later. They both began their NHL careers in 2007. That year, Kane led the team in scoring with 72 points, and Toews finished third with 54 to lead the Hawks to their first winning season since 2002. Kane was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. The following year, Toews was named Captain of the Blackhawks making him the 3rd youngest captain in NHL history.
These two players have been at the forefront of “Rocky’s Revival”. As 21 years old’s, they led the team to the Western Conference Finals, but were ousted by the rival Detroit Red Wings. During that season, they were both signed to matching five-year extensions worth $6.3 million. The year after that, they finally broke through.
Today, Kane and Toews started the next chapter in their storied careers. They again signed matching extensions of 8 years, $10.5 million. This may seem like a lot, but the salary cap next year is supposed to rise significantly. Not to mention their recent pedigree. Since the 2009 extension, they have won two Stanley Cups, and have each earned the Conn Smythe for MVP of the Finals. Kane has been a perennial Hart Trophy candidate, and Toews has won a Selke Trophy as the leagues best defensive forward. Not to mention his two Olympic Gold Medals he won with Team Canada.
This is an incredibly decorated duo, and now, with these extensions in place, the sky is the limit for not only the Blackhawks, but these two players individually. Because of that, it is hard to truly call any of their future feats “bold predictions”, but I’ll give it a shot!
My first bold prediction is that this duo will lead the Blackhawks to 2 more Stanley Cups. The Hawks are perennial contenders anyway, but this core won’t last forever. My hope is that they can win one more in the next couple of years, before core players like Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, and Duncan Keith get too old to play at their highest level or before they get traded, which is an unfortunately realistic possibility. Even after that though, with the young talent surrounding the Hawks two biggest stars, and the seemingly miracle work of Hawks GM Stan Bowman, the Hawks should be able to squeeze out at least one more Stanley Cup, cementing their legacy and possibly dynasty of the 2010′s. Given how difficult it is to win a Stanley Cup and with all the teams around the Hawks getting better, this can definitely be considered a bold prediction.
Next, I believe that Patrick Kane will win at least one Hart Trophy. He has been in the running every year, and had he not gotten hurt at the end of the regular season this past year, he may have won it. His injury cost him his lead in the Blackhawks top scoring race which was ultimately won by Sharp. Ironically, Toews also got injured at the end of the regular season, and they both returned for the first game of the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues.
Another “bold prediction” is that in 20 years, when I walk into the United Center, or wherever the Hawks may be playing their games then, I will be able to look up in the rafters an see 19 and 88 hanging there. Kane and Toews already have a better legacy than most of the Hawks already retired numbers. Bobby Hull (9) and Stan Mikita (21) only won one Stanley Cup in their careers. Those are the names that are probably most well known from Blackhawks history. In 20 years, when people look back on the history of this great franchise, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be the first names off of their tongues.
Lastly, I believe that both players will retire as Blackhawks, hopefully at the same time for sentiment sake, and be inducted into the Hall of Fame together. That is how these two players have spent their career thus far, together. That is how it will end, and how it will be made into legacy.
These are the two players that sparked my love for the sport of hockey, so I couldn’t be happier that these two players will be members of my favorite hockey team for at least the next 8 seasons! Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have already exceeded any “bold predictions” that people could have had for them when they first entered the league, and hopefully, they will exceed these as well.
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