History repeats as Blackhawks fail to offer Jonathan Toews a contract

Jonathan Toews #19, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Jonathan Toews #19, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Chicago Blackhawks fans gave Jonathan Toews one heck of a send off on Thursday night when the team lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 in overtime. The United Center was loud and energetic like during the years of success for the team and yet something still doesn’t feel right.

Jonathan Toews had a great game. He scored a goal and almost won it in overtime. Every time he touched the puck the crowd was energetic and hoping to see good things from the captain. While there was some talk of the potential lottery implications should the Hawks lose, it still felt like everyone just cared about seeing Jonathan Toews play a great game for a fitting sendoff.

Toews is the longest tenured captain for the Chicago Blackhawks. He has won three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe trophy and has been the face of the franchise since he was drafted in 2006. Toews will go down in history as one of the best Blackhawks of a all time, which makes his departure from the Hawks seem like a moment of history repeating itself.

History repeats as Blackhawks fail to offer Jonathan Toews a contract

So many stars for the Chicago Blackhawks have eventually been shown the door by the organization. Bobby Hull eventually left the team and signed elsewhere. Chris Chelios was stunned when he was traded from the team. Denis Savard, Jeremy Roenick, Al Secord and Eddie Olcyzk were all traded from the team. So many Hawks’ greats were dealt away from the organization over the years. When the Kane and Toews era began in Chicago, trying to rebuild relationships with those alumni was a major part of the organizations plan. Now, we are seeing that same treatment of stars play out.

A few years back the Blackhawks decided not to offer Corey Crawford a contract, forcing him to walk away in free agency after backstopping the team for two Stanley Cups and so much success on the ice. While that move was understandable as the Hawks wanted to start a new with younger goalies – all of whom who are no longer on the team – the decisions this past season to not offer Toews and Kane a contract just seems off.

Kyle Davidson did not offer Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane a contract, partly adding some more context as to why it took so long for the Hawks to deal Patrick Kane. Maybe Kane did not want to play elsewhere and wanted to re-sign. The decision to move on from the two franchise icons has hinged on the organization wanting to allow room for the next generation to start fresh and build their own team.

I can understand the idea, but I do not think having Toews or Kane around really is going to hurt the rebuild, it would help out having a few franchise icons around. Look for example at a team like Los Angeles, they still have Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar yet here they are at the end of a rebuild with a group gelled together ready to win.

At the end of the day the NHL is a business, and with that decisions have to be made not based on loyalty. With that said, Toews and Kane should have been given the option to re-sign with the team. Toews and Kane chasing franchise records would have been fun to watch, all while watching them play with the next generation of potential greats.

Now a new era in Blackhawks hockey starts.