The Chicago Blackhawks are in the beginning stages of a rebuild after a decade of dominance on the ice. Led by stars Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook, the Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups in six seasons and were among the most exciting teams to watch in the NHL.
However, Chicago has struggled since its last championship during the 2014-15 season. The franchise has made the playoffs only three times and failed to get out of the first round.
With the Blackhawks set to begin their 2020-21 training camp on Jan. 3, the hope in Chicago was that everyone would be 100% healthy and ready to go. However, Jonathan Toews dropped a bombshell statement on Tuesday, one that has rocked the entire NHL.
Jonathan Toews has been a superstar for the Blackhawks
The Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews with the third overall pick in the 2006 Draft. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has scored 345 goals, racked up 470 assists, played in four All-Star games, and won three Stanley Cups with Chicago.
Toews won the 2009-10 NHL Conn Smythe Trophy, the 2012-13 NHL Frank J. Selke Trophy, and the 2014-15 NHL Mark Messier Leadership Award. The Blackhawks’ captain will certainly get his No. 19 retired by the Chicago franchise one day. He’s sixth in goals, eighth in assists, and sixth in points in team history.
The Blackhawks’ three Stanley Cups during the Jonathan Toews era have come against the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Toews has 45 career goals in the playoffs and 119 total points.
Jonathan Toews is coming off the worst scoring season of his career
During the 2019-20 season, Jonathan Toews appeared in 70 games and scored 18 goals, the lowest output of his decorated career with the Blackhawks. He also finished with a negative +/- for the third straight campaign.
While Toews is at the tail end of his career, it was still strange to see the 32-year-old struggle on the ice last season. The Blackhawks went 32-30-8 in 2019-20 and finished in seventh place in the central division. Chicago defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round, 3-1. However, Toews and Co. lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Vegas Golden Knights in five quick games.
After a long offseason of rest, Jonathan Toews was ready to come back firing on all cylinders for 2020-21 and help the Blackhawks prove some of their critics wrong. Unfortunately, the three-time champion will have to wait to start his comeback season.
Blackhawks’ captain is out indefinitely with a mystery medical condition
On Tuesday, Jonathan Toews announced he’s dealing with a medical condition and won’t be joining the Blackhawks for the start of training camp. It’s unknown when the former superstar forward will return to the team.
“This offseason, I’ve been experiencing symptoms that have left me feeling drained and lethargic. I am working with doctors so I can better understand my condition,” Toews said in a statement, via the team’s website. “Until I can get my health back to a place where I feel I can perform at an elite level and help my team, I will not be joining the Blackhawks for training camp. I do not have a timetable for when I will rejoin the team. I am extremely disappointed, but it wouldn’t be fair to myself or my teammates to attempt to play in my current condition.”
While it’s natural to speculate that Toews’ health issue is related to COVID-19, it’s unclear what the veteran is dealing with. Everyone in the NHL world will be praying for Toews. The game is in a much better place when he’s on the ice skating.
All signs point toward the Blackhawks struggling during the 2020-21 season. Aside from Jonathan Toews being out, Kirby Dach suffered a broken wrist and will miss four to five months.
Stats courtesy of Hockey Reference.