The Chicago Blackhawks are currently on a two game winning streak.... without Patrick Kane. In a season that has only produced 24 points in 39 games, 4 of them have come without our superstar right wing.
Our Captain, Jonathan Toews, has only been even with 1 assist in 2 of our best wins of the season despite averaging 19:30 of ice time over the last 2 contests. More on that is the "eye test". I started to notice in the last game a few details:
1. His reluctance to enter into board battles
2. Less vocal with his team and refs in between the whistles
3. Inclusion of added players in the celebration line (other than just Toews)
I can't fault him for these at all, he is used to winning, to being one of the best centers in the world, to hoisting the Stanley Cup. He seemed thrilled when Domi won it in OT against the Flames, however before that it just seemed like a different type of player than we are used to. He started the season in great fashion with his goal streak admist a 4 game winning streak if you remember. It's crazy to say this, but Jonathan Toews is not playing hockey right now that should keep in the lineup. He has 1 assist only in his last 7 games. His backchecking and board battles have been non-exsistent.
Per Elliotte Friedman (on his 32 Thoughts the Podcast with Jeff Marek), Patrick Kane may be dealing with an undisclosed injury where it may be best to take care of this issue now, possibly sign a 1 year extension, and be in this same position next season. Maybe this isn't a bad decision to make or at least entertain, but let's look at Kyle Davidson. (@FriedgeHNIC, www.sportsnet.ca)
Kyle Davidson is a young fearless GM that has proven that he will not hesitate to make the tough deal. He has traded away Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Hagel, and Kirby Dach all in their early 20s. He has moved young high draft picks like Nicolas Beaudin and Alex Nylander when they have shown they are not progressing despite their young ages. He has said, "this is a rebuild" many times over.
No, Kyle Davidson will NOT hesitate to make the hard decision to move on from legendary Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. With impending unrestricted free agency upon us, the no-movement clauses in their deals, with cups already won, legendary status in place, and future jersey number retirement ceremonies already being penciled in.... What is left, but to say good bye at this stage?
The recent win against the Calgary Flames should be a sign of what is to come in the next few years. A young prospect passes to a 1 year deal veteran to squeak out a gritty OT victory behind a 44 stop performance by a well traveled goalie in his 30s. Sounds like a rebuild, because that's where we are at. Toews and Kane may not be done with hockey, however I firmly believe that Kyle Davidson has shown plenty of precedence that he will quickly move on if given the chance.