Toews has played in all 41 of the Blackhawks’ games this season. He has now totaled 12 goals and 17 assists and is a plus-9 on the season. He is on pace to finish the year with 24 goals and 34 assists.
The last time we looked at Toews was after 22 games had been played this season. At that point, Toews had six goals and 10 assists and was on pace to end the year with 24 goals and 40 assists. Since then, he has kept pace with the goal scoring totals, but has seen his assists pace drop.
Until recently, this drop in production from the 22-game mark actually looked a lot worse. I was planning on checking in on Toews a week ago until I realized that the halfway point of the season was probably the most appropriate time to check in on how his year is going.
In the last four games, Toews has scored three goals and added four assists, bumping his numbers up to look a little more respectable at the halfway point of the year. These last four games, Toews has scored more points than he did in the previous 15 games played before them.
If these last four games are a sign of things to come in the second half of the year, that would be fantastic, but there still has to be worry that Toews will fall back into one of these droughts where he is not showing up on the scoresheet.
The 58-point total Toews is on pace for this year would be the third straight year Toews has totaled 58 points in a season.
With Bowman going out and trading a dynamic scorer like Artemi Panarin to reacquire Brandon Saad and boost the top line, you would have had to have hoped Toews’ numbers would have been higher than those in the Panarin era.
Also noteworthy from the first half of the year has been Toews’ penalty minutes. The center has already accrued 30 PIM on the year, putting him on pace to total 60 this season. Toews most PIM on a year came in 2015-16, when he totaled 62 minutes. In the other nine seasons he has played, Toews has only totaled more than 50 penalty minutes in a year once.
On top of this, there seems to be a very large percentage of times Toews is kicked from the faceoff dot during games. While there doesn’t seem to be a stat kept for number of times a player is kicked from the faceoff circle, I have counted at least six separate occasions Toews has been kicked over the last two games.
As many have noted, Toews’ scoring production is not everything about his game. He is a defensive forward who is well-rounded and brings leadership to the team. But while his point production has been low, he is also limiting his effectiveness in his all-around game.
Toews is your best center and he continuously gets kicked from the dot. Toews is one of your leaders on the ice, but he has the third-highest penalty minutes on the year behind John Hayden and Ryan Hartman. If you eliminate penalty minutes for fighting, Toews leads the team in time in the box.
Toews does have very good possession numbers so far this year (57.2 Corsi-for percentage and 5.9 percent relative Cori-for), but if he is going to lack in the scoring department, he needs to stay out of the box to help drive possession and stop getting kicked from faceoffs as the top center on the team.
Toews’ first half of the season has not been anything to be especially excited about, but hopefully a recent change to the forwards around him is the spark that Toews and the top line needed.