Toews says Blackhawks rebuild ‘doesn’t sound appealing’: report

Jonathan Toews said he is not a fan of the ongoing Chicago Blackhawks rebuild.

“At the end of the day, we’re talking about a five-plus-year process, according to (general manager) Kyle [Davidson],” the Blackhawks captain told The Athletic on Tuesday. “So that part of it doesn’t sound appealing to me at all.”

Davidson said July 14 that he’d spoken to Toews and longtime teammate Patrick Kane about the direction of the team and would continue to do so, but that he didn’t know if the veteran forwards were buying into the rebuilding plan. The Blackhawks traded young forwards Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach on July 7, the first day of the 2022 NHL Draft, and Brandon Hagel before the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline in March.

“I can’t speak for ‘Kaner,’ 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 said . “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. 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, and pretty exhausting to think about. for me, because I really don’t know.”

[RELATED: Chicago Blackhawks Team Reset]

The Blackhawks traded DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for a first- and second-round pick (No. 7, Kevin Korchinski; No. 39, Paul Ludwinski) in the 2022 draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. They traded Dach to the Montreal Canadiens for the No. 13 (Frank Nazar) and No. 66 (Gavin Hayes) selections in the 2022 draft. Hagel was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 18 for forwards Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddyshand a first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and 2024 draft that are top-10 protected.

DeBrincat, often a linemate of Kane’s, had 78 points in 82 games last season, leading Chicago with 41 goals to tie his NHL career high he set in 2018-19. A second-round pick (No. 39) by the Blackhawks in the 2016 NHL Draft, the 24-year-old has 307 points (160 goals, 147 assists) in 368 regular-season games, and six points (two goals, four assists) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Dach had 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 70 games last season. The 21-year-old, who was the No. 3 pick by Chicago in the 2019 NHL Draft, had 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) in 152 regular-season games and six points (one goal, five assists) in nine playoff games.

Davidson said he didn’t talk to Toews and Kane before Chicago made the trades.

Toews, 34, and Kane, 33, each is entering the final season of an eight-year contract signed July 9, 2014. Toews, the No. 3 pick by Chicago in the 2006 NHL Draft, has 852 points (357 goals, 495 assists) in 1,014 regular-season games and 119 points (45 goals, 74 assists) in 137 playoff games. Kane, selected by the Blackhawks No. 1 in the 2007 NHL Draft, has 1,180 points (430 goals, 750 assists) in 1,107 regular-season games and 132 points (52 goals, 80 assists) in 136 playoff games. Each won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015, and has played his entire NHL career with Chicago.

Toews has been Chicago captain since 2008.

Davidson took over as GM on Oct. 26 after Stan Bowman stepped down as president of hockey operations and GM.

On Oct. 20, 2020, the Blackhawks posted an open letter on social media saying they were committed to developing younger players and rebuilding the roster. Chicago (28-42-12) finished seventh in the Central Division last season, 29 points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks have missed the playoffs four of the past five seasons.

“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.”

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