Patrick Kane may have been the best player of the Chicago Blackhawks dynasty era, but Jonathan Toews was their heart and soul.
Toews essentially announced his time as a member of the Blackhawks was finished Thursday, posting a heartfelt goodbye message on Instagram. Toews, who has spent his entire 16-season NHL career with Chicago, reportedly isn’t retiring and intends to return for the 2024-25 campaign after taking a year off to get healthy.
The 35-year-old won the Stanley Cup three times in Chicago and served as the face of arguably the greatest era in franchise history. But with his tenure as the Blackhawks’ captain now seemingly over, it’s time to look back on Toews’ 10 best moments from his time in Chicago.
Jonathan Toews Top 10 Career Highlights
April 13, 2023: Blackhawks vs Flyers, United Center
With his eight-year contract set to expire, Toews was playing his final game at United Center as a member of the Blackhawks against the Flyers. He sent the 20,000-plus fans home with a vintage performance.
Toews won a face-off and then went to the front of the net to redirect Andreas Athanasiou’s shot-pass in for his 372nd and final goal in a Chicago sweater. Then, after the Blackhawks’ 5-4 OT loss to Philadelphia, Toews skated around the rink to show his appreciation for the crowd and addressed the fans during a postgame interview.
“Thank you. I love you, Chicago,” Toews said.
Taking It Outside
March 1, 2014: Blackhawks vs Penguins, Soldier Field
It might seem hard to believe, but the Blackhawks had only participated in one outdoor game before the 2013-14 season. Yet, the NHL opened up the Stadium Series that season and pitted Toews and the Blackhawks against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins at the legendary home of the Chicago Bears.
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Amid snow-globe conditions, Toews and the Hawks took it to the Penguins. The Chicago captain set up Patrick Sharp’s ice-breaking first-period goal, then scored twice, including a highlight-reel goal in the second period that ended up being the game-winner in the Blackhawks’ 5-1 win.
Turning Back the Clock
Aug. 1-7, 2020: Blackhawks vs Oilers, Western Conference Qualifying Round
The Blackhawks haven’t reached the postseason since 2020, when an expanded field took to the ice in the East and West bubbles, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, No. 12 seed Chicago shocked Connor McDavid, 2020 Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl, and the heavily favored Oilers due mostly to Toews.
The Chicago captain recorded seven points in four games during the best-of-five series. He scored two goals in Game 1 and added two more in Game 3, including the game-winner with just 1:16 remaining in regulation.
Then, in the series-clincher, Toews had two assists, including the setup on Dominik Kubalik’s game-winner scored midway through the third.
Sealing the Deal
May 11, 2009: Blackhawks vs Canucks, Game 6 Western Conference Semifinals
This game is memorable because it was Kane’s first career playoff hat trick, and the victory boosted Chicago to the Western Conference Final. But Toews’ fingerprints were all over it as well.
He had three points (two goals, one assist), including the game-winner, and led Chicago with five shots on goal. Plus, Toews was 83.3 percent in the face-off circle in the 7-5 series-clinching victory.
Flipping the Script
April 15, 2015: Blackhawks at Predators, Game 1 Western Conference First Round
It’s easy to forget the Blackhawks opened their run to the 2015 Cup on the road against the upstart Predators. Nashville built a 3-0 advantage on Chicago in the first period of Game 1, putting the Blackhawks on the ropes from the get-go.
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Yet, Toews willed the Blackhawks back by posting three points, including the game-tying goal that forced overtime. He also got the secondary assist on Duncan Keith’s game-winner in double OT in Chicago’s 4-3 win.
April 25, 2014: Blackhawks at Blues, Game 5 Western Conference First Round
The Blackhawks trailed 2-0 in the best-of-seven series against arguably their biggest rivals. Yet, thanks to Toews, they rallied to advance.
Toews had three game-winning goals in the series, but the most memorable was his breakaway overtime winner in Game 5, where he stashed a backhand past St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller.
That tally gave Chicago a 3-2 victory and series lead, and the Hawks advanced with a 5-1 win in Game 6.
May 7, 2010: Blackhawks at Canucks, Game 4 Western Conference Second Round
Toews’ lone career playoff hat trick came against the Canucks on May 7, 2010.
The Chicago captain dominated from the get-go, setting up Brent Seabrook’s opening goal just 18 seconds into the game.
Then, the Hawks scored four power-play goals, three from Toews and another from Sharp, set up by Toews, to build a 5-2 second-period lead. Thanks to Toews’ five-point game, Chicago went on to win 7-4 and took the series in six.
Breaking the Ice
May 30, 2015: Blackhawks at Ducks, Game 7 Western Conference Final
Chicago found itself trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series before claiming a 5-2 win in Game 6. Then, back in Anaheim, Toews broke the ice by scoring the first two goals of the win-or-go-home game.
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Toews’ tallies were the first of four straight scored by the Hawks in their 5-3 victory. Chicago’s captain had five goals and two assists in the series, and the Hawks went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games to once again win the Stanley Cup.
Beating the Bs
June 24, 2013: Blackhawks at Bruins, Game 6 Stanley Cup Final
Chicago trailed the Boston Bruins 2-1 after three games in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, but Toews put his team on his back.
The Canadian center recorded five points over the next three games, all Blackhawks victories, including a goal and an assist in Chicago’s 3-2 Cup-clinching win in Game 6. Toews put Chicago on the board in the second period, then set up Bryan Bickell’s game-tying goal with 1:16 left.
Bickell’s was the first of the now-famous two goals in 17 seconds, and although Kane won the Conn Smythe Trophy, Toews again was the first to receive the Stanley Cup.
Lifting the Cup
June 9, 2010: Blackhawks at Flyers, Game 6 Stanley Cup Final
Entering the 2010 postseason, the Blackhawks hadn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1961. Yet, thanks mainly to Toews, the Hawks exorcised their demons.
Toews set up Dustin Byfuglien’s opening goal in Game 6 for his 22nd assist and 29th point of the playoffs, tying the club record for most in a single postseason.
But what was more meaningful for many Chicago fans was when Toews became the first Blackhawks player to hoist the Stanley Cup in nearly five decades after Kane’s memorable OT winner.
The 22-year-old captain won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the team’s playoff MVP, cementing his legacy as one of the team’s all-time greats.