30 best NHL players of the 21st century: 28. Jonathan Toews
It’s so hard to peg where Jonathan Toews falls into the pantheon of NHL history. He’s fallen off quite a bit thanks to injuries and age, but there’s no doubt there was a time when he was one of the best players in the best dynasty of this era.
The Blackhawks had this insane core that was almost impossible to stop, and Toews was the captain of it all. It started right away, with Toews scoring the first goal of his career on his first shot. The third-overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft was on his way to a great career. He was a rookie with Patrick Kane, who will always be connected to him. These two helped each other be and stay great.
When looking at Toews point production on the surface, it’s underwhelming. He’s never come close to 100 points. His best season points-wise was actually in 2018-19 when he had 81. During those peak Blackhawks seasons, he only hit a point-per-game pace during the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Still, his impact was felt in every single game. His two-way play made sure he didn’t need goals and assists to help the team win.
He was part of a draft class that might be considered the all-underrated team in this era (Phil Kessel, Nicklas Backstrom, Semyon Varlamov, and Claude Giroux are among those drafted in 2006).
He should hopefully play long enough to get to 1,000 points. He was so important to this era for a franchise that was desperate to be relevant again. There’s no denying Toews’s impact on 21st-century hockey.