Blackhawks’ Toews on future with team: ‘I really don’t know’

Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews is shown during an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Paul Vernon, File/AP)

Jonathan Toews acknowledges his future with the Chicago Blackhawks is uncertain due to his contract status and the team entering a deep rebuild in an interview with Mark Lazerus of The Athletic.

The Winnipeg native says he’s not making any predictions on what’s next.

“At the end of the day, we’re talking about a five-plus-year process, according to (GM) Kyle (Davidson),” Toews said. “So that part of it doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I can’t speak for Kaner (teammate 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.

“You have a guy like Alex DeBrincat who was under Kaner’s wing. And I like to think that Kirby (Dach) 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. So 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.”

Toews’ eight-year contract expires after this season. The same applies for Kane.

Lazerus reports Toews, who has won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, has a no-movement clause. The Blackhawks, assuming they are near the bottom of the standings, could be tempted to move Toews before the trade deadline.

“When we traded Hags (Brandon Hagel), 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. It’s hard to tell, sometimes, what should be your concern and what shouldn’t be, aside from just playing your game.

“So my head is here, thinking about what’s right in front of me, what the next day or the next game or the next challenge is. These last few years have taught me to be in the moment and cut out the things that I really can’t control, and to just focus my energy on what I can control so I can really enjoy the game from there.”

Toews did say he’s happy about the hiring of new coach Luke Richardson.

“Luke’s message is we’re going to work hard, we’re going to be prepared, we’re going to play as a team, and we’re going to go out there and try to win every single game,” Toews said. “I’m really excited to have a chance to play for Luke.”

Toews, 34, missed the entire 2020-21 season because of chronic immune response syndrome before returning last season. He had 12 goals and 25 assists in 71 games.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.