Like the 29 other teams in the National Hockey League, the Blackhawks are prone to some inconsistency. But even in the couple of rough stretches they’ve had this season, there is one constant that you can count on every single night: Jonathan Toews.
At just age 23, Toews already boasts Hall of Fame credentials. He’s a former Juniors star, the best forward at the 2010 Winter Olympics, a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and the captain of a Blackhawks team that brought Chicago its first Stanley Cup in 49 years. He was also a Selke Trophy finalist last season.
This season, Toews appears to have set his sites on not only the Selke, but possibly a bigger individual achievement: the Hart Trophy. Sure, there are plenty of other candidates, including guys like Evgeni Malkin and Claude Giroux among others, but the fact is that there is no other player in the National Hockey League that is the total package like Jonathan Toews is.
Obviously the first thing anyone looks at when evaluating a player is their offensive output. Toews has improved in that department every season he’s been with the Blackhawks, and he looks like he’s easily going to eclipse yet another career-high for points.
Toews already has 48 points on the season, which is in the top ten in the league. His current career best came last year, with 76, including 32 goals. Those 32 were just two off of his career mark of 34, one which Toews will easily pass this season.
As of Wednesday, Toews was second in the NHL with 26 goals on the year, trailing Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos by five. With a career high of 34, it won’t be very long at all before he has a new career best on the stat sheet.
Of course, if you’ve watched Jonathan Toews in even the slightest bit over the course of his NHL career, you’d know that offense is far from the only aspect of his game. Look no further than his Selke nomination from last season for evidence of that.
Toews is also a wizard on the defensive side. His one of the best defensive centers in the league and always brings a fantastic backcheck to the ice, playing as well as anyone in his own zone.
There also isn’t a better faceoff man in the league than Toews. In 938 draws on the season, Toews boasts a percentage over 61 percent. The only person close to him, percentage-wise, that has taken at least 800 on the year is Patrice Bergeron, who does have a solid 57 percent, but still far off of Toews’ pace.
Don’t overlook the fact that Toews is a plus-16 on the year as well, running a top line that has been productive of late, even with Patrick Kane‘s epic scoring drought.
I’m not saying that Toews is necessarily the best player in the league, though a case can obviously be made. Consider the fact that he is 10 years younger than the only other player that is on the same level as he is, as far as an all-around game goes, (Pavel Datsyuk), what Toews is doing is truly remarkable.
Toss in the fact that he’s played a lot of the season without an extremely dependable winger on his side, with both Kane and Marian Hossa seeing plenty of time on the second line, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more deserving of a Hart Trophy than Jonathan Toews is.