Toews: Blackhawks' 5-year plan 'doesn't sound appealing to me at all'
Jonathan Toews isn't thrilled with the idea of waiting out a lengthy rebuild now that Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has fully embraced that strategy.
"At the end of the day, we're talking about a five-plus-year process, according to Kyle," Toews told The Athletic's Mark Lazerus. "So that part of it doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I can't speak for (Patrick Kane), but I definitely feel that the amount of turnover our team has gone through every single year these last three or four years, that's where it gets really, really draining. And exhausting."
Toews cited the recent trades Davidson pulled off at the draft, in which he dealt a bona fide star forward to the Ottawa Senators and sent 21-year-old Kirby Dach - who Chicago drafted third overall just three years ago - to the Montreal Canadiens.
"You have a guy like Alex DeBrincat who was under Kaner's wing. And I like to think that Kirby and I had that bond in some ways, too. And out they go, out the door," the 34-year-old Toews said. "Over and over, we've seen that turnover. I'm learning to be more patient, but there's no doubt that timeline is pretty daunting. ... I'm not going to sit here and say what I'm going to do or what the future holds for me, because I really don't know."
Davidson's roster purge started well before the offseason. After underachieving despite adding Marc-Andre Fleury and Seth Jones over a four-day span last July, the Blackhawks traded forward Brandon Hagel to the Tampa Bay Lightning before the deadline in March. Hagel, a promising winger in his own right, was under contract through 2023-24.
"When we traded Hags, and then Cat and Kirby, reality really set in that, OK, this is where we're at, and they've got to really focus on the future," Toews said. "And it's just unfortunate that it's come to that. But it is what it is. So much of that stuff has been out of my control for quite some time, and it's a weird place to be in as a captain."
Toews also noted that seeing Evgeni Malkin - who'll turn 36 on Sunday - re-sign with the perennially competitive Pittsburgh Penguins "definitely puts things in perspective" in terms of the Blackhawks captain's own situation.
The accomplished Canadian center can become an unrestricted free agent after next season. He and Kane - who's in the same boat contractually - have full no-movement clauses, so they'd have to approve any trades that would send them elsewhere.