When you look at reasons why the Chicago Blackhawks are not in the playoff race this season, you have to start with the Captain #19 Jonathan Toews.
There will people that argue, and I’m probably one of them at times, that it doesn’t matter what Jonathan Toews does the rest of his career that he deserves every penny he gets from the Chicago Blackhawks because he brought us 3 Stanley Cups in 6 seasons. It’s a very fair argument that I would even make as early as this season.
There is a play from the other night in Calgary that could make me change my mind though. In overtime Toews shoots the puck and Calgary gets it back and then he coasts back as the Flames score the overtime winning goal. I know it’s the smallest of sample sizes, but it’s a play that you wouldn’t have seen from the Captain a few years back.
Toews is one of the highest paid players in the NHL, and his contract is solely for point production, but the Chicago Blackhawks Captains statistics have slowly taken a turn for the worst the past two seasons. From 2013-2016 he scored exactly 28 goals for three straight seasons, and then last season he tallied the fewest goals of his NHL career with 21.
After last seasons playoff debacle to the Nashville Predators he said he was going to change his offseason training and get faster for this season. The results haven’t been there nor has the extra gear to turn it on when he needs to. Through 52 games he only has 14 goals and 19 assists.
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Toews gets paid for his leadership, Face-offs, and 200 foot play, but he also gets paid to produce offensively. These stats are not from a player that is going to get paid 10.5 million dollars for the next 5 seasons.
Part of the way for a franchise to continue to be great is not pay players for past performance. This is Stan Bowman’s biggest failure as a GM. He’s given out 16 million dollars in contracts to Toews and Brent Seabrook through 2023 and their skills are already diminishing before our eyes. Both players were key to 3 Stanley Cup Championships, but they are looking more and more like they will be boat anchors for the Blackhawks to develop and keep talent in years to come because they will be tied down to these big long term deals.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m always going to be grateful for the 3 Stanley Cups, but that’s in the past and you have to live in the moment and the season, and right now Toews isn’t producing like a 5 or 6 million dollar player let alone a 10.5 million dollar player.
If the Hawks are going to make the playoffs this year and make a run at Stanley Cup #4 of this era of Blackhawks Toews has to start producing like the player that’s getting paid a whole lot of money to lead this franchise!
What are your thoughts on the Toews contract?