The Chicago Blackhawks had plenty of problems heading into this past season. High-paid players weren’t producing like they should, defense was crumbling, and there was no morale. However, one player that changed the narrative and showed his true potential was Jonathan Toews.
It’s easy to put the blame on Toews. As the captain, he’s the forefront of success, as well as the walking target when things go sour. With that said, he took a large portion of the blame in the 2017-18 season, where he failed to compete at the level he should.
In 2017-18, Toews had a mediocre 20 goals, 32 assists for 52 points on the year. As a $10.5 M cap hit player, there was reason to send some criticism towards the captain. However, there needed to be a shift in his game to bring him back to his old self. Toews certainly saw how bad the situation was and took the blame to heart, which sent him on a mission to change the narrative in the 2018-19 season.
Da Windy City
There were mixed expectations coming into this season. Would the ‘Hawks make the playoffs or will prior inconsistencies continue? It was hard to tell, but no one needed to make predictions once the season gained some momentum, and the ‘Hawks proved to be non-worthy of a chance at the Stanley Cup in December.
Despite the terrible outcomes of their games heading into the New Year, Toews was proving doubters wrong, while simultaneously showing fans and critics that the blame was wrongly shifted his way. The Blackhawks flipping their season around, and almost making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, can be largely attributed to Toews’ leadership as well as the other forwards in the top six.
Jonathan Toews scored a career-high 35 goals, 46 assists, and 81 points in his most explosive season yet. Toews proved to have a new resilience, as well as a competitive mindset to prove that this team’s ‘Cup contending window isn’t closed just yet.
There was no other player on the team that needed a breakout year like Toews. His leadership and salary cap space were being heavily scrutinized and it was showing on the ice. He went from being booed off the ice with his team down 4-0 in the first period of a hockey game to putting up career-high stats, bringing fans back into his corner once more.
Jonathan Toews redeemed himself in the eyes of Blackhawks fans, and also, reestablished himself as the real deal once again. It just goes to show there’s nowhere to go but up from here.