Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
1. Jonathan Toews (3rd overall, 2006)
Oddly enough, Toews hasn’t cracked the top-10 in franchise history in goals, assists or points. But, Toews’ leadership and two-way play is the reason he is the best first-round pick in franchise history.
The Blackhawks were fortunate to have Toews fall into their laps at the third pick, as the St. Louis Blues selected Erik Johnson and the Pittsburgh Penguins took Jordan Staal. It was a stroke of good fortune that would be the biggest factor in the team’s turnaround.
Toews has 223 goals, 283 assists and is +171 in eight seasons with the Blackhawks. He was named the team’s 34th captain at 20 years old and has served as one of the best captains in all of sports since 2008. He won the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP in the 2010 championship season and earned the Selke Trophy as the league’s best two-way forward in the 2013 championship season.
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He didn’t take home any personal hardware in 2015, but was an essential piece of the Blackhawks’ championship puzzle. He kept the ship afloat amidst a strange season that had its share of swirling, scandalous rumors. He kept the season alive even though Kane’s collarbone fracture signified the death of any title hopes.
Toews is the type of player any team in any sport would want. He could go down as the best two-way player in Blackhawks’ history and is already one of the most decorated athletes in Chicago sports history.