Chicago Blackhawks: Struggles Continue for Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
Jonathan Toews (19)
Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Blackhawks center and captain, Jonathan Toews, missed all of the 2020-21 NHL season due to Chronic Immune Response Syndrome and in his first season back with the team, he struggles to find his scoring touch.

The Blackhawks have been on a run as of late after the termination of head coach Jeremy Colliton’s contract under the leadership of the hero interim coach, Derek King. With a new energy behind the bench, the players on the ice have found their game as they’ve pieced together eight wins and four losses since King’s introduction. Of the players that have since figured it out, like Patrick Kane and Marc-Andre Fleury, captain Jonathan Toews is not one of them.

Scoring struggles continue for Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews

The 33-year old, Canadian-born forward has always been the face of the franchise alongside teammate and friend, Patrick Kane. While Kane has been the highlight-reel playmaker, Toews has been the defense-focused workhorse who has been the epitome of a leader.

Before the infamous 2020-21 NHL season in which Jonathan Toews battled a mysterious illness later to be confirmed as Chronic Immune Response Syndrome, he had a strong performance in 2019-20 in which he scored 18 goals and 42 assists in 70-games played. In the new league year after his missed time, however, he has just nine assists in 25 games while registering the worst plus/minus of his 14-year career with an abhorrent -14.

Due to his lack of production on the ice, his playing time has reached a career-low at 18:11 time on ice per night, and has since been demoted to the second line behind rising forward Kirby Dach. This is a classic example of the difficulty of adjusting to the game coming back from a long-sustaining injury, never mind one that sidelines you for an entire year. In that span, players are constantly getting better, faster, smarter, and stronger while you remain the same in a best-case scenario.

For a struggling player whose play-style is seeing its way retired throughout the NHL, how can Jonathan Toews turn things around in a league that demands productivity? There’s two ways the Chicago Blackhawks can solve this dilemma, and they both require making a splash in the trade market.

Either the original six franchise makes an acquisition for a two-way forward that can alleviate some of the pressure on Toews’ shoulders, much like Marian Hossa did, or the Hawks can try to swindle a desperate team by trading the veteran for draft compensation and some much-needed salary cap relief.