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Under basic supervisor Kyle Davidson, the Chicago Blackhawks are present process what is anticipated to be a protracted rebuild. The course of has generated hypothesis about the way forward for franchise famous person Patrick Kane and longtime group captain Jonathan Toews.
The pair served because the foundational items within the Blackhawks’ rise into an NHL powerhouse between 2009-10 and 2014-15. They led the membership to a few Stanley Cups, incomes particular person awards and garnering a spot among the many league’s 100 biggest gamers.
However, the Blackhawks have steadily declined since their final championship in 2014-15. They’ve made just one playoff look over the previous 5 seasons as salary-cap constraints and quick-fix offers depleted their roster.
Toews informed Mark Lazerus of The Athletic that the Blackhawks could possibly be a five-plus-year rebuild, which did not “sound interesting” to him. He additionally mentioned the fixed turnover of gamers over the previous three or 4 years was “actually, actually draining. And exhausting.”
While Kane stays among the many NHL’s main scorers, the previous two seasons have been troublesome for Toews. The 34-year-old missed all the COVID-shortened 2020-21 marketing campaign due to continual immune response syndrome, and he had a career-low 37 factors in 71 video games final season.
Like Kane, Toews carries a $10.5 million wage cap hit for 2022-23 with a full no-movement clause. His precise wage will likely be $2.9 million after he obtained a $4 million signing bonus from the Blackhawks. Still, that contract will not be straightforward to maneuver except the Blackhawks retain as much as half of his cap hit.
A bounce-back effort by Toews might make him an attractive commerce goal within the coming season, particularly for playoff contenders in search of a two-way middle with management and championship expertise. Here are 5 potential touchdown spots and what the Blackhawks might get in return.
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On July 11, NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin reported the Boston Bruins have been awaiting phrase if Patrice Bergeron would return for one other season or retire. They’re additionally ready to search out out if David Krejci intends to make a comeback after spending final season enjoying in his native Czech Republic. Three weeks later, there’s nonetheless no phrase if both participant will likely be again.
Even if one in all them returns, the Bruins could possibly be in search of one other middle for one in all their high two traces within the coming season, particularly in the event that they’re hoping to stay a playoff contender. Perhaps they’d look into buying Toews as a one-season rental if he is prepared to simply accept a commerce to Boston.
Toews might fill the first- or second-line middle position, relying on whether or not Bergeron and/or Krejci got here again. His expertise, management and two-way expertise would make him match alongside the Bruins’ veterans, whereas the youthful gamers may benefit from his presence.
The Bruins might need to get artistic to amass Toews. They have solely $4.8 million in cap house, though they’re going to get some early-season cap aid if Brad Marchand (hip surgical procedure) and Charlie McAvoy (shoulder) go on long-term injured reserve as they get better from offseason surgical procedure. However, Boston have to be cap compliant upon their return to the lineup.
To tackle Toews, the Bruins might try a three-team commerce. The Blackhawks would retain half of Toews’ $10.5 million cap hit, with the Bruins and the opposite membership splitting the rest in half. They might supply up winger Jake DeBrusk or middle Jack Studnicka as a part of the return, together with a draft choose and a prospect resembling John Beecher.
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On July 13, the Calgary Flames misplaced main scorer Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets in free company. Ten days later, they traded winger Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers, with winger Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar as a part of the return.
Huberdeau and Weegar might assist the Flames stay among the many high groups within the Western Conference this season. However, they may want a lift at their second-line middle place in some unspecified time in the future earlier than the commerce deadline. Toews could possibly be a tempting choice at that time if he is prepared to approve a commerce to Calgary.
Sean Monahan is anticipated to return from his proper hip surgical procedure in time for coaching camp in September. However, his struggles following surgical procedure on his left hip recommend he might have problem filling the second-line middle position. The Flames may benefit from bringing in somebody with Toews’ expertise and expertise to offer extra depth.
The Flames have $9.3 million in cap house with restricted free brokers Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington left to re-sign. Acquiring Toews within the offseason or within the first half of the common season might take up an excessive amount of cap house even when the Blackhawks absorbed half of his cap hit.
It is perhaps higher for the Flames to attend till the commerce deadline, after they’ve accrued extra cap house. The return to the Blackhawks could possibly be a second-round choose, a younger defenseman resembling Juuso Valimaki and a prospect resembling Connor Zary.
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The Colorado Avalanche have a big gap at second-line middle following the departure of Nazem Kadri in free company. Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now not too long ago prompt Toews could possibly be a stable short-term alternative.
Dater acknowledged the issues about Toews’ age, contract and latest decline in his manufacturing. He anticipated that Toews won’t be accessible till the commerce deadline, when he figures to be a scorching commodity. That would depart the Avalanche making do with Mikko Rantanen or Alex Newhook as their second-line middle. JT Compher might additionally fill that position.
Speaking of Compher, Dater prompt he could possibly be a part of the return to the Blackhawks. The Avalanche might dangle their first-round picks in 2023 and 2024, too. However, they could possibly be reluctant to half with them since they’ve already traded away their second and third-rounders in each drafts. They would possibly want to incorporate a number of prospects as an alternative.
The Avalanche entered August with almost $18.2 million in projected commerce deadline cap house. Still, they may should get the Blackhawks to choose up half of Toews’ cap hit to facilitate the deal, particularly in the event that they plan on making different additions earlier than the deadline.
Toews’ manufacturing might enhance skating on a deeper membership in Colorado. He would deliver loads of expertise and management to the Avs of their quest to defend the Stanley Cup.
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After reaching the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, the Dallas Stars missed the playoffs in 2021 and have been eradicated from the opening spherical by the Calgary Flames final spring in seven hard-fought video games. They would possibly profit from having Toews middle their second line, with group captain Jamie Benn on the left wing and Tyler Seguin on the best.
CHGO Sports’ Jay Zawaski not too long ago reported there was no reality to a rumor linking the Stars to Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. Even if the Stars have been pursuing the 33-year-old winger, the Blackhawks’ asking value mixed with Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit and full no-movement clause might put him out of the Stars’ attain.
Given the Stars’ depth amongst their wingers, Toews is perhaps a greater match as a two-way middle with appreciable championship expertise. Granted, he has a contract equivalent to Kane’s and must conform to the commerce. The Blackhawks would additionally should retain a wholesome portion of the cap hit.
The Stars have $11.5 million of salary-cap house remaining, however they’ve but to re-sign rising younger stars Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger. They’d in all probability have to attend till the commerce deadline to accrue adequate cap house to pursue Toews.
As for the return, the Blackhawks might ask for younger defenseman Thomas Harley plus a prospect resembling Ty Dellandrea together with a draft choose. Still, a rental like Toews could possibly be worthwhile if the Stars are in playoff competition by the commerce deadline.
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The New York Islanders are pursuing free-agent middle Nazem Kadri, in line with Kevin Kurz of The Athletic. If these efforts fall by, maybe basic supervisor Lou Lamoriello will take into account Toews as a second-line middle choice.
The Islanders have already got two facilities in Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson. Kurz prompt transferring one in all them to the wing to make room for Kadri, however the identical thought might apply in the event that they have been to amass Toews.
Kadri would supply the Islanders with a scrappy second-line middle coming off a career-best 87-point season and a Stanley Cup championship. Toews would not play the identical type, however he’s a stable two-way middle who brings years of championship expertise and management to the desk.
With $11.2 million in salary-cap house and restricted free brokers Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov nonetheless left to re-sign, the Islanders would not have sufficient cap house for Toews’ full cap hit to begin the season. They’d should persuade the Blackhawks to retain half of it. In return, they may supply up Josh Bailey together with a draft choose and a prospect.
NYI Hockey Now’s Stephen Rosner not too long ago reported the Isles are buying Bailey. The 32-year-old winger has two years remaining on his contract with a median annual cap hit of $5 million. Rosner believes he might do wonders for a rebuilding membership just like the Blackhawks.
Salary-cap information present as of Aug. 2, 2022, through Cap Friendly.