Jonathan Toews missed the season last year due to Chronic Immune Response Syndrome. He is hoping to come back for the 2021-22 season.
Jonathan Toews has been the leader for the Blackhawks since 2008, and there was a hole in the roster in more than just one way this season. The Blackhawks were player-coached, but they were missing one of the biggest voices in the room all year. With Toews coming back, the young guns on the team, mainly Kirby Dach, will have another mentor that is bound for the Hall of Fame.
Toews posted a video on social media earlier on Wednesday talking about what he has been going through the past year. It is great to see him healthy and back in Chicago. Check out the video to hear from him about his illness over the past year:
Now, to the hockey side of things
The Blackhawks have bolstered their center depth with the addition of Toews, a proper centerman who can take important faceoffs. His overall faceoff percentage over the course of his career is 56.9% via HockeyReference. This means that the Blackhawks won’t have to use David Kampf as a top-six center anymore and send him back to the third line where he should be.
Toews will add to the penalty kill, powerplay, and every other situation the team will find themselves in. He isn’t the best offensive forward in the league, but his two-way game is one that the Blackhawks lacked last season. He has proved time and time again that he is a clutch player and can be paired with Patrick Kane during 3v3 overtime periods. The classic “Toews-Kane” duo will be back to create iconic one-timer OT winners.
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Three Noticeable Improvements in Comeback Win vs Blues
- Blackhawks: Key Takeaways from 3-2 win over the Blues
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
What is most important with the return of Toews, however, is his veteran presence and mentorship. He will be an important part of the team on the ice, but off the ice is where he will shine. The Blackhawks were horrible in the faceoff dot, and Toews can change that on the ice, and the prospects can follow his example and listen to the advice he will have. Toews will be yet another player-coach for the franchise and this is desperately needed.
Rookies with high expectations like Lukas Reichel and Henrik Borgstrom will definitely get a boost as another guy who led the team to three Stanley Cups will help them in their first year with the team. Other guys like Brandon Hagel and Alex Debrincat can improve their two-way game through pointers from a tested veteran. The big idea here is that Toews will be an impactful mentor to one of the youngest teams in the NHL.
His 10.5 million contract will be back on the cap however, so the Blackhawks may be a bit more hesitant in taking on big-name players like Jack Eichel and Seth Jones. Many RFAs need a contract this season, notably Pius Suter, Brandon Hagel, and David Kampf, and both Kane and Toews will need to be re-signed in two years. Not to mention Dach, Wyatt Kalynuk, and Adam Boqvist will be due for their bridge deals. As much as Toews adds positively to the team, he adds a bit of a headache financially.
A quote from Toews’ short comeback video is that he expects his best to come through next season, and if this is the case the Blackhawks will be a much better team. During the dominant decade of Blackhawks hockey, Toews was a menace defensively and was a handful offensively. He does whatever it takes to win, and the Blackhawks are set to have a massive boost to begin the next year.
They are not Stanley Cup contenders, but they are just a bit closer now. The Blackhawks have to develop their prospects properly this time, and hopefully add a key free agent in the future to win another Stanley Cup in the Kane-Toews era.