It’s challenging to maintain a professional sports leadership position for double-digit years in this day and age, but Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews officially has done just that
Ten years ago today, the Chicago Blackhawks named Jonathan Toews their captain at the age of 20 years and 79 days. That made him the youngest to hold the position in team history.
Toews’ tenure with the Blackhawks has been the most successful in franchise history, as he became the first athlete to touch the Stanley Cup at the end of the 2009-10, 2013 and 2014-15 seasons.
Only recently have the Blackhawks gone on a more serious downturn. Until these last two or three years, the only thing a Toews-led team ever knew was making the Stanley Cup Playoffs and, at least, being a threat to take the silver chalice.
Regardless of what is going on now with the team, or how precipitously Toews has fallen in a statistical manner, there’s no doubt his reign as Blackhawks captain is something that will be hard to match or conquer for any future Blackhawks.
Toews has 727 regular-season games and another 128 playoff contests with the C stitched into his sweater. He’s still quite a ways off the all-time mark for longest NHL captaincy. That’s held by Detroit’s Steve Yzerman, as the current Tampa Bay Lightning general manager donned the C for 1,303 regular-season matchups over the course of 20 years.
For Toews to surpass Yzerman, simply based on regular-season games, he’d need to participate in 577 more non-postseason contests. That equates to a little more than seven seasons worth of action in today’s NHL. Although Toews is just 30 years old, that’s still a ton of hockey to be played.
While some Blackhawks fans are and have been ready to see Toews traded in recent years, his impact on the Blackhawks cannot be understated. He holds 674 regular-season points and 110 playoff tallies while frequently taking on some of the opposition’s toughest forwards and defensemen in all situations. He’s won nearly 57 percent of his faceoffs between the regular season and playoffs and has provided a level of leadership that would be hard to match.
Who knows if Toews finally will bounce back after some tough statistical seasons (beyond his faceoff percentage). But no matter what he does for the rest of his NHL career, it’s beyond clear Toews is the best captain in team history, and among the greatest in league history. Toews deserves ample congratulations for 10 years as a face of the Blackhawks.