Jonathan Toews is a player to pay attention to during the offseason. The longtime Chicago Blackhawks captain is expected to talk with the organization about whether or not he wants to be a part of their rebuild. General manager (GM) Kyle Davidson already started it off with a major bang, as he moved Marc-Andre Fleury, Brandon Hagel, and Ryan Carpenter before the deadline. Following those moves, the 33-year-old center showed dissatisfaction, but now things have taken an even bigger turn. While speaking with reporters, he stated that he “can’t help” but picture what it would be like playing for another organization. Thus, it’s fair to say that the idea of a potential move in the summer isn’t completely out of the question.
“For the longest time the thought never entered my mind to leave Chicago. In this case, you can’t help but picture yourself and what it would be like to play for another team and just what that experience would bring. … But, again, Chicago’s my home.”—Jonathan Toews on pic.twitter.com/1X4aQ6ib9L— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) March 23, 2022
Toews has full control over whether or not he will be traded, as he carries a no-movement clause (NMC). Yet, the Blackhawks would also need to retain some of his $10.5 million cap hit in any hypothetical swap. This is because he no longer produces like a first-line center, but he certainly could be a nice addition to a contender’s middle six. He’s still an effective two-way center and has been trending in the right direction as of late. Alas, let’s look at some potential landing spots for him.
When thinking of a Toews blockbuster, it’s hard not to name the Winnipeg Jets as a potential landing spot. That is where the veteran grew up, so it would make sense for him to want to play for his hometown club. Because he has a NMC, he does have control over where he will end up in a potential swap. Thus, that heightens his chances of ending up with the Jets significantly.
At this point of the season, the Jets have a 30-24-10 record and are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. When looking at their strong core of players, it’s fair to state that they are performing below expectations. With this, they could use a proven winner in Toews to help get their team back on track. With the team trading Andrew Copp and Paul Stastny’s expiring contract, a spot could open up for him on their second or third line.
The Blackhawks could acquire either Brendan Dillon or Dylan DeMelo as a way to take some salary back in a Toews swap. With the team rebuilding, they also would likely want a prospect from the Jets. Some options on that front include Daniel Torgersson, Kristian Vesalainen, and Nikita Chibrikov. To conclude the package, they likely would want either a first or second-round pick.
Another team that could make sense for Toews is the Calgary Flames. Although they currently have a lot of depth down the middle, recent acquisition Calle Jarnkrok is a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA). Furthermore, Sean Monahan’s future with the team is certainly in jeopardy, as he was in trade talks before the deadline passed. With that, he’s currently being utilized on their fourth line.
If the Flames end up losing Jarnkrok through free agency, Toews could be a perfect fit for their third line. He would provide them with another elite penalty killer and solid secondary scorer. Furthermore, if they end up having another early exit in the postseason, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for them to bring in a proven winner. It could be exactly what helps them take that next step as a franchise.
Speaking of Monahan, perhaps he could be a piece heading the other way in a Toews trade. At this point, he would benefit from a change of scenery. Yet, in this specific scenario, the Blackhawks likely wouldn’t be able to land themselves a first-round pick. However, they could potentially acquire a second-round pick and mid-tier prospect in such a move. A few options for the latter include Adam Ruzicka, Jeremie Poirer, and Matthew Phillips.
The Edmonton Oilers could be an excellent landing spot for Toews. This is especially true if the team is unable to re-sign Evander Kane during the offseason. If that were to happen, the team would be forced to move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back to the top six as a winger. This would once again leave a major hole at the third-line center position, and the future Hall of Famer could be a perfect fit for it.
During the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl era, the Oilers have yet to go on any real Stanley Cup run. Seeing as how they have two franchise-level talents on their roster, this needs to change immediately. If they once again get knocked out in the first round or even miss the playoffs entirely, changes will need to be made. With Toews being a three-time Stanley Cup winner, he could be an excellent way to help fix this major issue.
One player who the Oilers could move in a blockbuster centering around Toews is Tyson Barrie. The 30-year-old is currently playing on the team’s bottom pair, and that isn’t ideal when remembering that he carries a $4.5 million cap hit. Along with him, the Blackhawks could also ask for a mid-round pick and prospect. Some appealing options for the latter include Dmitri Samorukov, Tyler Benson, and Tyler Tullio. Yet, if they were seeking a first-rounder, they could also take on Zack Kassian’s contract.
Nevertheless, after hearing Toews’ comments, it’s clear that he is at least considering the possibility of playing elsewhere for the 2022-23 campaign. If he does inform the organization that he wants a move this offseason, there should be plenty of interest around the league. Although his contract is expensive, his vast success and solid two-way play would make him a fine addition to any club. Let’s see if he ends up on one of these three teams this summer.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.