Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews NHL’s Top Money Earner In 2017
By Thomas Keeney
If I told you a Chicago Blackhawks player was the NHL’s highest money-earner for the year 2017, would you be surprised?
As Chicago Blackhawks fans pine away until training camp begins, there’s not much to talk about. The unfamiliar concept of having available salary cap money and adding some new faces — in addition to returning an old one — does not leave much to discuss until we see the new team on the ice.
As I was perusing the litany of hockey sites, I saw one item that slipped by me. It was the Kurt Badenhausen’s December 2017 Forbes magazine article listing of top earners in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby had held the title of the highest-earning player in the NHL for eight straight years with substantial endorsement income ($5 million-plus). But guess who has been No. 1 for the past two seasons?
That would be the Chicago Blackhawks’ esteemed Captain, Jonathan Toews. According to Forbes, last season JT made $13.8M in salary plus $2.2M in endorsements equating to $16M. Patrick Kane was third in earnings at $14.8M, Crosby second at $15.7M.
Considering Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers just signed a contract for twice that amount (not including endorsements), it’s hard to hold anything against Mr. Toews making top money. He’s earned it.
Bringing the Stanley Cup to Chicago after almost 50 years of losing is worth a lot to many of us. The question is what are the ‘Hawks paying for, recent performance or past?
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In a recent NHL.com ranking, Toews was not on the list of the top 20 centers in the NHL. Thus for the ‘Hawks it seems you’re paying for the past, hoping for JT to regain his past glory.
What a run
When you look into the future, we all know a statue is coming for JT and is well deserved. He took a franchise, and with the help of some other key pieces, brought winning hockey to Chicago.
Remember when he could single-handedly get the entire team to raise its level of play? As fans, we knew going into every game that the Chicago Blackhawks had a great chance to win. Every game. Some franchises might experience that for a season or two. Blackhawks fans had six or seven straight.
Whether it’s the classic 2010 team with Johnny as a kid or the 2013 team with elite skill or the 2015 team that just seemed to will it’s way to victory, the Blackhawks consistently won.
Even competing teams would comment on the dominance and professionalism of the ‘Hawks. Hell, some were starting to model their franchise based on the ‘Hawks’ success. No, we’ll never forget how important Mr. Toews has been to the franchise and the city. It’s a debt we can never repay.
As we foresee a 60-year-old Johnny stopping by the booth talking about the good old days of winning the Cup, we need to hope he still has some magic left in the tank.
Yes, it’s very likely the Chicago Blackhawks will be paying No. 1 center money to a player who is past his prime. So be it. Chicago is old school. You do right by those that earned it.
So as the discussion of salary cap, making the playoffs and maybe getting Artemi Panarin back continues, I’ve finally come to the realization that unless the equipment manager starts giving JT Marian Hossa’s equipment to wear, Toews will be a highly paid, decent center for years to come. I’m OK with that.