Let's hope Chicago Blackhawks legend Jonathan Toews officially retires

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Toews has not been seen much since his final game for the Chicago Blackhawks last year. He was not in attendance for Chris Chelios' number retirement that happened concurrently with Patrick Kane's return to the United Center.

He taped a message for his alma mater, North Dakota, as they honored Ryan Carter with one last shift.

Otherwise, he last posted a picture of himself surfing on Instagram nine weeks ago and has completely disappeared from the spotlight. However, he has not officially retired.

He is still an unrestricted free agent who announced after the 2023 season that he was taking this season off to focus on his health. Long COVID wiped out his 2020-21 season and limited him to 53 games in 2022-23.

The physical nature that carried him to a storied career with the Hawks also started to erode his skills. He scored a combined 27 goals and 41 assists over his final two seasons in Chicago. Toews never had a season before that where failed to register at least 50 points. Well, not counting the shortened 2012-13 season, and even then, he still had 23 goals and 25 assists.

It was hard watching Toews finish out the remaining two years of his deal with the Blackhawks. It was gut-wrenching to see the franchise announce they were moving on, but it made sense. Now, it makes sense for Toews to continue enjoying life away from hockey.

Toews has earned the right to decide what he wants to do with his future, but his health issues and decline in his game were clear signs it is time to walk away for good. He has nothing left to prove. He has three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Selke Trophy, and a Messier Award. He was named to the NHL's top 100 players of all-time list in 2018. He is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame and to have his No. 19 hanging in the United Center rafters.

Plus, he scored a goal in his final game ever wearing the Blackhawks' sweater. You cannot write a better ending than that. He would leave the game having played only for the Blackhawks. That puts him in the same class as Stan Mikita. We all saw how well Mikita was treated by the Hawks faithful during his post-career days.

Hockey is the only life he has ever known, but the brief public glimpses he has given this year have shown he looks healthy and enjoying some surfing. So please Captain Serious, announce your retirement and catch some serious waves.