On 15-18-6, Blackhawks at NHL Purgatory. They’re not bad enough to have the best chances in the NHL lottery, and they’re not good enough to compete for the Stanley Cup playoffs. They started the season in the NHL vault (1-9-2) before shooting Jeremy Colliton. And while they’ve improved their position significantly under interim coach Derek King (14-9-4), playing at 593 percentage points doesn’t get you out of the basement. Not yet a start like that.
Next, we turn our attention to the NHL trade deadline – which is coming fast on March 21 – as the Blackhawks have quite a few commercial pieces that can/should be transferred by then. two names are said Not Part of those discussions, however, are Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
In his latest feature on The Athletic, Mark Lazyros reports that the Black Hawks are not considering trading any of their attacking stars at this time:
Well, if that happens, it will have to be started by Kane and Toyuz themselves. Kane remains an elite player, the Toews have been excellent lately and starting to look like their old self again, and according to multiple sources on the team, the Blackhawks have no intention of asking them to waive their no-motion clauses in the coming months. That doesn’t mean they’ll both be getting shiny new extensions when they become eligible for them this summer, but the Blackhawks aren’t actively looking to move them.
“If someone came to us and said they wanted to go out, we would definitely have to respect that and look at the possibility,” said one of the sources. Another source said, “I don’t think anyone wants to go that far.”
We’ve seen Chicago do this recently with Duncan Keith trading after deciding to play some of his final years in the NHL close to home, eventually landing with the Edmonton Oilers.
Kane and Toyos signed identical eight-year contract extensions worth $84 million that began after the 2015 Stanley Cup. Since then, Kane has racked up $10.5 million in success from AAV Cap, won the Hart Trophy in 2016 and led the Blackhawks to score each season of the deal. This year, once again, Kane leads the Blackhawks with 35 points in 35 games.
To Toews, hitting his hat looks a lot worse at this point in time compared to Kane’s hat. The Toews topped the 60-point plateau in scoring just two goals since their extension, scoring their best year in 2018-19 (35 goals, 81 points) and trailing them with 60 points in 70 games during the 2019-20 season, which was cut short by the pandemic. Having missed the entire 2020-21 season, through no fault of his own, Toews has returned to the Blackhawks this season as a shell for his former self. His production has improved recently, scoring four goals and nine points since December 9, and his off-disc play has been what you’d expect.
Both have complete control over their futures, as both of their current deals come with complete no-action clauses. If the Blackhawks were to go full nuclear and trade everything and everyone to start a proper rebuild, Kane and Toews would need to waive their trade protections.
If we’re brutally honest, this is the direction needed for the team. It is possible that the statues for both players have already been commissioned and it is possible that their respective locations in or around the United Center have already been selected. Number 19 and Number 88 are going into the rafters, too. Their legacy is solidified in Chicago, but what’s probably best for them to win in the later stages of their careers and to help the Blackhawks’ future, is to get as much of them in trade packages as possible – assuming, of course, that’s what they want (being a player-dependent organization is also very important).
Finding a dance partner to hold any of the players will be difficult, especially for the Toews and especially this season. Their hat blows are colossal, even if Kane was still worth it. While that’s unlikely to happen this season, if there’s more of the same vault next season in Chicago, it’s entirely possible that both players will be fired.