It's no secret that the Chicago Blackhawks are once again in period of darkness in their franchise. That much was officially confirmed when the team decided to trade popular goal scoring forward Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators during the offseason as well as letting Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalik depart; meanwhile, franchise icons Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are both entering the final year of their hefty 8-year deals that carry AAV's of $10.5 million.
The speculation has been that one or both of Kane and Toews could be moved this year to a contending team, with the Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers having been linked to the former. But what if one half the iconic Blackhawks duo decides to stay put? Don't be surprised to see it, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic.
According to what Powers has been hearing, Toews could in fact stick around and ride out the season in Chicago, which could potentially be his last in the Windy City. Not surprisingly, the Blackhawks don't appear to have any plans of pressuring either Toews or Kane into a move, either.
• "The Blackhawks are open to trading Kane and Toews, but it doesn’t sound like their front office is convinced Kane and Toews will actually ask to be traded. It’s one thing to put a lot of thought into being moved, it’s another to ask to execute it. Time will tell, but the Blackhawks are prepared for Kane and Toews to ride out this season in Chicago. The Blackhawks aren’t going to pressure them into leaving."
• "There is a belief within the organization that Kane is more likely to leave than Toews. Kane will be Kane wherever he goes. Toews’ identity within the Blackhawks goes beyond just what he does on the ice. He takes his role as team captain seriously, and that changes if he goes somewhere else."
Meanwhile, an unnamed Western Conference executive believes that Kane could once again cash in on his next potential contract after this season, while Toews would have to take a substantial cut:
"The Western Conference executive thought Kane could get somewhere in the ballpark of his current $10.5 million cap hit on a short-term deal. The executive thought Toews would have to take a large salary cut."
The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline falls on March 3, 2023. Take a look at what Kane's agent in Pat Brisson had to say about the subject earlier this year:
“It’s very similar, yes,” Brisson told LeBrun. “The respect that both players have for each organization. Claude will have his number in the rafters in Philly one day, I do believe, and obviously Patrick as well in Chicago. Both players are very respected on those teams. Claude at the beginning of last season wanted to see how things were going to go with the Flyers. We realized pretty soon, by November, that if he wanted a chance at trying to win a Cup last season, he would have to make a decision. And he picked Florida. The Panthers were one of the most attractive teams at the trade deadline…
“It’s a very similar approach that we had with Claude,” Brisson said. “We’ll see how things go in Chicago. We’ll see how Patrick feels. We’ll probably explore things at the appropriate time later this season. I don’t want to put too much of a timeline on it. But it’s clear the Hawks won’t push him to make a decision one way or another.”