NHL Trade Targets: Four proposals for Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews

Jason Bukala joins Caroline Cameron on Hockey Central to break down some potential moves ahead of the NHL's trade deadline including why Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews would be a great fit for the Winnipeg Jets or Toronto Maple Leafs.

Leaning on insight from Jason Bukala, our in-house expert with years of NHL front office and scouting experience, Sportsnet will take a closer look at a number of prime trade candidates between now and the March 3 trade deadline. First up: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

Just imagine, for a second, if Jonathan Toews had decided to pursue other interests after the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2015 Stanley Cup.

At that point, after eight seasons in the NHL, he’d be a surefire hall-of-famer with three rings — having gone three-for-three in the Stanley Cup Final — and a Conn Smythe Trophy to his credit. He also had two Olympic golds, having been named best forward of the tournament in 2010 on Canadian home soil just a couple months before his 22nd birthday.

That international achievement came on the heels of Toews winning both World Junior and World Championship gold in 2007, meaning he became a member of the Triple Gold Club (and, really, Quadruple counting the WJC) shortly after turning 22 when the Hawks won the 2010 Cup.

Oh yeah, he was also the captain of his team and the co-face — along with Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — of an Original Six team rising from the ashes.

Given all that, it’s no surprise the past eight years or so haven’t gone nearly as well as the first half of the Winnipeg native’s career. I mean, how the hell would that have even been possible?

Toews has been through a lot since living the highest highs, including missing the entire truncated 2020-21 campaign with chronic immune response syndrome.

Now, at 34 years old, the career Blackhawk is in the final season of an eight-year contract inked in 2014, one year before he won that last title.

Toews is obviously not the player he once was — and certainly not worth the $10.5-million cap hit he carries the rest of the year — but after getting his feet back under him last year, he’s now basically tracking a 25-goal, 50-point season on one of the worst outfits in the league. That production combined with his biggest-of-the-big game experience means more than one team is going to take a long hard look at the centre as a middle-six player who plays a premium position. 

Bukala’s Analysis: An uninformed observer will suggest Toews is a very risky investment — that he has lost a step or doesn’t impact the game the way he once did. I appreciate the concern, but let me put your mind at ease.

Consider the following comparison:



Games Played




Average TOI

Power Play Goals

Power Play Assists

Jonathan Toews (Chicago)






18 Minutes



Patrice Bergeron (Boston)






18 Minutes



• Both players are deployed in all situations

• Toews leads the NHL in faceoff percentage (64.3)

• Bergeron is second in faceoff percentage (62.6)

• The biggest difference between the two players is Bergeron is more of a play driver who gets pucks to the net. Bergeron has generated 151 shots on goal, while Toews is at 71.

• The depth of the Boston Bruins lineup compared to the Chicago Blackhawks HAS to be considered when comparing statistical data for the two players. An argument can be made that Toews could easily have the same number of points as Bergeron if he was playing in Boston instead of Chicago.

Considering the comparisons I have presented, it’s irresponsible to suggest Toews wouldn’t add middle-six depth to a Stanley Cup-contending team. He has another Cup run in his blood and would be a valuable addition to any top team.

How the Toews trade happens

1. The Chicago Blackhawks will be required to retain 50 per cent of Toews’s $10.5-million average annual value, which equals 5.25M.

2. The deal involving Toews will, likely, require a third team. The third team has to retain 50 per cent of Toews’s remaining $5.25M cap hit, which equals $2.625M.

3. Toews’s final destination will be a team that has, at minimum, $2.625M in available cap space to facilitate adding him to their roster.

The numbers I have presented are for cap compliance only. Toews’s actual salary for 2022-2023 is $6.9M. He was paid a signing bonus of $4M last July – meaning his in-season salary was reduced to $2.9M.

It’s significant because, by the time the trade deadline rolls around Toews will have been paid $2.262M of the $2.9M — leaving $638,000 remaining till the end of the season.

Chicago would retain 50 per cent ($319K) in the transaction.

The second and third team will be responsible for 50 per cent of the remaining salary – let’s call it $160K for a round number.

The third team will, essentially, be purchasing a draft pick by allowing their cap space flexibility to be used in the overall transaction. (Historically, $160K buys the team a potential fifth-round pick for assisting with the trade.)

Keeping in mind Toews has a full no-move clause and will be heavily involved in the process of where he plays next, here are a few proposals:

Trade Proposal No. 1

• Boston receives: Jonathan Toews
• Chicago receives: Boston’s first-round pick in 2023
• Anaheim receives Boston’s fifth-round pick in 2023

(Both Chicago and Anaheim retain 50 per cent of Toews’s AAV and Salary)

Trade Proposal No. 2

• Carolina receives: Jonathan Toews
• Chicago receives: Carolina’s first-round pick in 2023
• Anaheim receives: Carolina’s fifth-round pick (Vancouver) in 2023

(Both Chicago and Anaheim retain 50 per cent of Toews’s AAV and Salary)

Trade Proposal No. 3

• Colorado receives: Jonathan Toews
• Chicago receives: Colorado’s first-round pick in 2023 and Colorado’s fifth-rounder in 2025

(Chicago retains 50 per cent)

Trade Proposal No. 4

• Winnipeg receives: Jonathan Toews
• Chicago receives: Winnipeg’s 1st round pick in 2023 and Winnipeg’s 5th in 2025

(Chicago retains 50 per cent)

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