The Black Hawks would not re-sign Jonathan Toews, who eventually scored

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CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will not return to the team next season, ending a highly successful streak that included three Stanley Cup championships in 15 seasons.

General Manager Kyle Davidson said Thursday that the team will not re-sign his longtime center, who turns 35 on April 29. He is eligible for free agency after agreeing to an eight-year, $84 million contract extension in July 2014.

“I think the words fail to sum up all that Jonathan has done for the organisation, and the wonderful memories he has made,” said Davidson. “It will be the Blackhawks forever.”

Chicago hosted Philadelphia in its season finale on Thursday night, and the Flyers won 5-4 in overtime. Toews won its first championship when the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

He heard loud, long cheers when he was presented with the starting lineup, and each time he appeared on the video overhead panel. The reception reached another level when Toews scored on a power-play in the second period, which led to a thunderous round of applause.

It was Toews’ first goal since January 28 and his 15th of the season. He has 372 goals and 511 assists in 1,067 regular season games – all with Chicago.

Once dubbed the “serious captain” — a reputation that has faded as he showed more of his personality over the years — Toews could decide to retire after missing part of the season with what he describes as a prolonged and chronic COVID-19 symptomatic immune response syndrome. He also missed the 2020-21 season due to the same health issues.

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“I don’t have an answer at the moment,” he said Monday. “I’m just trying to enjoy the last few days of the season here with this kit and not think about it too far.”

Davidson said he believes Toews will play next season. “But that’s a conversation for him,” said the GM.

Toews was selected by Chicago with the #3 pick in the 2006 draft, one of the first signs in the team’s rise to the top of the NHL. He was just 20 years old when he became the 34th captain in the team’s history in July 2008.

“He’s definitely the captain on our team, and he’s been the captain here for a long time,” said first-year head coach Luke Richardson. “It was always fun to watch him play. I’ve always been a fan, but to get the chance to work with him this year has been so amazing.”

Toews was part of a core group that helped Chicago put together the best stretch in franchise history, winning Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013, and 2015. The Blackhawks also reached the Western Conference Finals in 2014, losing to the Los Angeles Kings in an epic seven-game series. matches.

But the franchise has fallen on hard times lately. They’re among the worst teams in the NHL this year, in the combination of the #1 overall pick in the draft and a chance to take Connor Bedard.

Toews’ departure follows a deal in February that took superstar Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers.

“I don’t know if that necessarily puts the past behind us. It more than clears the deck somewhat to allow for the organic growth of young players in leadership roles,” said Davidson. “Give this new era of Blackhawks the same opportunity that Toyos, Kane, (Duncan) Keith and (Brent) Seabrook were all offered to them when they came into the league.”

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After a series of conversations, Davidson said he told Toews of the decision while the team was in Seattle last week. GM also said it had spoken to CEO Danny Wirts, son of Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirts, about the move.

“Danny and Rocky talked to Jonathan, they didn’t talk about this, just to kind of reminisce about what he lived and experienced and just to show that respect and share in the memories that were made together,” said Davidson. “So, when you move on from someone like Jonathan Toews, they have to be involved. They have to be, given the stature and stature of the player.”

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