Jonathon Toews is the captain of the Blackhawks. He’s always been a great captain, and I believe him to be the League’s best. But here’s the thing: he hasn’t won a Selke in a while. That’s his main draw, and he came nowhere close last year. He also hasn’t scored a goal in 8 games. That’s alarming.
And being surrounded by cruddy wings is no longer an excuse. Richard Panik has proven himself to be a talent. Ryan Hartman and Tyler Motte are both good looking prospects for the Hawks future. Toews has the privilege of playing with them. But right now, he’s not good.
That needs to change. The Hawks offense desperately needs to wake up this season, and it starts with Toews. He’s simply been not good enough, and if he were the team looks a lot better. We already have one Hossa – a defensive forward without much offense. We don’t need another one.
We need offense. Toews needs to provide it. He’s not. So what can the Blackhawks do moving forward?
This is going to sound insane. I understand that. No way do you trade a guy who brought you three cups, who is the face of your franchise. The guy who makes fans happy. Well guess what? We traded a guy who brought us two cups, was the should-be face of the franchise, and who made fans happy this past summer. I’m saying that Jonathon Toews needs to go the way of Andrew Shaw. Head East, young man. Never return.
When Marcus Kruger has been more offensively useful than you, we have a problem. When it’s someone I called the second best center in the League, it’s even bigger. Jonathon Toews has a problem and it needs to be addressed to save the Hawks’ season. I said last year that Toews’ wasn’t worth 10.5. Sometimes I don’t want to be proven right.
I personally blame the early Hawks playoff exit solely upon Jonathon Toews. His nickname is Captain Clutch and he was anything but. Andrew Shaw and Corey Crawford were the two best players in the Hawks series against the St. Louis Blues. Only Crawford remains.
We also need defense. Roszival should not be playing in Blackhawks games after his last year. And there’s a lot of value you can get for a three cup winner face of the franchise with leadership experience. So let’s take a look at some of his possible destinations.
Theoretically, every team in the East should want a player like Jonathon Toews. In reality, the salary cap exists, and so teams will have to navigate that when trading for Toews. Some teams will be totally unwilling to navigate the Cap. Teams like this include Pittsburgh, Washington, Brooklyn (Islanders), and Tampa Bay. Each of these teams also has a number one center.
Then, we must think about what the Blackhawks would want and accept in return. For the purposes of this article, thats a number one (scoring) center, a top two defenseman, and a first and second round pick. We must now think about what teams would accept that offer.
The list shrinks. It now excludes Philadelphia (not trading Giroux and Ghostisbehere), Boston (no way they trade Patrice Bergeron), and New York (not trading Ryan McDonaugh).
So that gives us a few teams:
Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Now, we must consider the teams Jonathon Toews would accept a trade to. He would surely like to play closer to his home in Canada, so that’s Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto all on the list. I’m sure he’d like the Florida money, so Florida remains. Buffalo is also closer to Canada, and has a good coach. Right now, I don’t think Toews is crazy enough to want to play for Tortorella. I don’t think he wants to play in somewhere as unstable as Carolina. New Jersey could go either way. For the sake of the article, he accepts a trade to New Jersey.
I don’t think Stan Bowman wants to upset the older Hawks fans and trade Toews to Detroit.
So the list now: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida, Buffalo, New Jersey.
Now let’s take a look at the packages each team could offer and weigh Stan Bowman’s possibilities.
Montreal: Michel Therrien (and therefore Marc Bergevin) would love to trade Max Pacioretty. I’m sure that he could convince Stan Bowman to take him instead of a center. Or perhaps not, in which case Galchenyuk is a great young center. On the defensive side, Stan Bowman would take Nathan Beaulieu. The problem is, Montreal has to work within the cap. So Bowman accepts Max Pacioretty instead of the second round pick from Montreal. That’s still not enough. Montreal’s final offer: Pacioretty, Beaulieu, Galchenyuk, first round pick for Jonathon Toews.
Ottawa: Ottawa is stacked on defense, much more so than Montreal. They also have to work less with the cap, and can offer really anything. Therefore, they offer Derrick Brassard, Cody Ceci, the first and second. Chicago would be dumb not to accept this deal, and they do so. Ceci is a strong young defender, Brassard is a good center you can pair with almost anyone. The Hawks would have enough money to trade for a good wing later.
Toronto: Toronto isn’t going to mortgage their future for Toews. So do not expect Auston Matthews. Toronto is also much more cap challenged, so must deal with the cap. Expect a great (though perhaps overpaid) player instead of one of the picks (likely the first rounder). The Maple Leafs offer James Van Riemsdyk, William Nylander, Jake Gardiner, and two second round picks. I believe that’s a deal that should be accepted because Nylander will be as good as a Toronto first round pick if Toronto has Matthews and Toews.
Florida: With Dale Tallon still very much at the helm of the Panthers, they could be willing to offer a lot for Toews. The thing is, Florida is another team without cap challenges. They offer Aleksander Barkov, Alex Petrovic, and the first and second. I suggest that the Blackhawks take it, because both Barkov and Petrovic are good young players.
Buffalo: The Sabres will be, of course, offering Ryan O’Reilly way before they offer Jack Eichel. That’s perfectly fine. O’Reilly is a good scorer and that’s why the Blackhawks are trading Toews. The Sabres don’t have much in the way of defense, but they offer Jake McCabe and two first rounders. That means the Hawks get O’Reilly, McCabe, and two first rounders.
New Jersey: The Devils will be willing to offer the most. Toews would be a perfect compliment to Hall and Henrique. Therefore, they offer Kyle Palmieri, Jon Merrill, John Moore, and two first rounders. Unfortunately that’s not enough, and try as Bowman might, he cannot get Pavel Zacha. New Jersey is not getting Jonathon Toews.
I believe the best deal for Chicago will be from Montreal or Toronto. I’d want a first rounder over two second rounders. Therefore, the Chicago Blackhawks are now with Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Nathan Beaulieu. That means they also might have enough for a new Artemi Panarin contract. Toews also gets to go play with his buddy Andrew Shaw and the best goaltender in the league (next to Corey Crawford).
Whatever the solution is, I’m not saying Toews is going to be traded 100%, only that the possibility should be considered, he needs to start scoring. What he has done this season is unacceptable. He has more fights than goals. That was unacceptable for Shaw last year. Shape the fuck up Toews or prepare to leave this team.