The Chicago Blackhawks finished last in the Central Division this season and had the ninth worst record in the NHL. This marked the third straight season finished at the bottom or next to last in the division.
Despite the obvious downward spiral the team has taken, captain Jonathan Toews is shocked at the direction the team making huge changes to their roster this off-season. Toews indication that replacing key veterans with young players is something the organization never informed him. In fact, it ends up being a complete 180 degrees from what was expected.
Toews was clearly sad and disappointed after two key members, goalie Corey Crawford and forward Brandon Saad left the team via free agency and trade, respectively. Saad and Crawford were both part of the Stanley Cup winning teams in 2013 and 2015.
The Blackhawks made the playoffs this season for the first time since 2016-17 despite finishing with the worst record in the division. Crawford had hopes of leading the team deeper into the playoffs in coming year, but now he has departed, to the dismay of Toews.
The 32-year old Toews, along with right winger Patrick Kane are the veterans that are the focal points on the offensive end. However, the most experienced goalie left on the roster is Malcolm Subban, who has played all of 66 games. The other two goalies on the roster, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen have a combined 18 games of NHL experience. In addition, the Blackhawks hopes moving forward appears to be behind the likes of Alex DeBrincat, a soon-to-be 23-year-old and Dominik Kubalik, who paced all NHL rookies with 30 goals.
As for Toews, he is under contract through the next three seasons. He’s tallied 345 goals and 815 points during his career and is a three-time Stanley Cup winner. He insists he wants to finish his career with the club, despite the sudden change in direction of the team, wants to and believes he can win again in Chicago.