Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are still on the Chicago Blackhawks, taking up a lot of the team’s salary, but this season is showing that the true Toews and Kane era is over in Chicago.
The summer following Chicago’s last Stanley Cup would feature the draft that took Dylan Strome third overall, and a lot of the current Blackhawks’ players were just kids at that time. This roster is a lot different now than it was back in 2015. While there are still remnants of the older days in Shaw, Keith, and Kane, a lot of the group is inexperienced and young.
Yes, saying the Toews and Kane era is over might not seem true with Toews out with an injury, but even if he was playing I still think this roster is highlighting players outside of Toews and Kane. Kane leads the forwards in ice time, but there is a clear emphasis on giving some of the younger guys ice time and letting them play in different situations.
This is a new era of the Chicago Blackhawks
Fans might be upset about how the first two games of the season went for Chicago, being outscored 10-3. However, the anger and frustration might be lessened when seeing where this roster is at. The success and dominance the Toews and Kane era demanded out of the roster is not present anymore, and I think this season will reflect that.
When the game is close with a minute to go, fans might not see players like Patrick Kane or Duncan Keith on the ice. Phillipp Kurashev might get an opportunity or Ian Mitchell will be played to see what he can do in a situation like that.
While it might make some sense to give Adam Boqvist some time down in the AHL this year, the Blackhawks 2020-21 season is all about letting the next era of Blackhawks leaders take the next step in their NHL careers.
Toews and Kane were amazing, they jumped into the NHL and seemed to instantly take on big roles on a roster ready to embrace them. They both still could have five or so years on their NHL careers, but now they need to embrace the next generation the same way older ‘Hawks did back in 2009.
This could all pay off for the Blackhawks. If the young players on this roster can take hold of the roster and be clutch players for this team then maybe Chicago can be a great team again before Toews, Kane, and Keith call it a career.
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