Teams that missed out on Bo Horvat might look toward the Chicago Blackhawks and Jonathan Toews over the next couple of weeks. There’s been no confirmation that Toews is going to approve a trade out of Chicago, but the belief is that he inevitably will and that means a mix of offers that would allow a team to bring in his leadership, some forward depth, and playoff experience at a potentially lower acquisition price.
Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.
Teams like the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, and Boston Bruins are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, so it’s only natural that most insiders would peg them as the favorites to also land Toews. All three teams have already been linked in the rumor mill. But, are there teams that Toews might consider that aren’t being talked about all that often?
Edmonton Oilers Might Want Center Depth
The Edmonton Oilers’ were considered early contenders but being in a Wild Card spot currently makes them Stanley Cup long shots. That could change if their hot streak continues and the more it does, the more Toews might be attracted to them as an option.
The Oilers’ willingness to spend assets on another center will come down to one thing: are they playing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the same line or not? If so, that moves Ryan Nugent-Hopkins up to the second-line center spot or opens a spot in the top six. Toews would fit nicely in either role.
The Oilers were rumored to be a longshot option for Horvat and with him off the board, it makes sense they’d consider Toews. The money is an issue, so a third team would need to give involved here to act as a broker and get Toews’ salary down to around $2.7 million. If doable, one has to wonder if Toews would consider playing in Canada for the remainder of the season.
No doubt, Duncan Keith — who actively works with the Oilers behind the scenes now — could play a role here in recruiting Toews. Word is that Keith has already spoken with Patrick Kane about any potential decision to leave the Blackhawks, so it’s safe to assume he has or will do the same with Toews. It shouldn’t take a first-round pick to land Toews, but the Oilers do have all but their fourth-rounder in the upcoming draft.
The Stars are a long shot because they, one, aren’t Cup favorites, and two, already have a ton of veteran experience in their lineup. In fact, with Joe Pavelski, Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin on the roster, one could argue the Stars don’t need another older, playoff-experienced vet to be an important part of their locker room culture. That said, Toews has been a fairly effective player this season and the Stars might simply look to add him because they think he can produce and serve a useful role.
Latest News & Highlights
The Stars don’t have a first or third-round pick in the upcoming draft. They also don’t have the room to add Toews without a third team getting involved as a broker. Yet, for some reason, the Stars are a team that is mentioned every time a big-name forward comes up. If they were linked to Kane and insiders figured they’d find a way to make it work, clearly they can do the same for Toews if so inclined.
Essentially, insiders believe the Stars will be aggressive deadline buyers. That puts them in the conversation and Toews might find working with their young core and seasoned vets refreshing.
In the wake of the news that the Capitals just signed Dylan Strome to a five-year contract extension, it might seem odd to think they would go trade for another center that could potentially slot in for Strome if he struggles. Still, the Capitals might be a team worth considering here as the combination of an inconsistent Strome and returning Nicklas Backstrom might not be enough to keep the Capitals in the Cup conversation.
Sitting in the first Wild Card spot of the Eastern Conference, the Capitals have said they will do everything in their power to win with Alex Ovechkin in their lineup. Toews might be open to the option of being on a team that has no intention of tanking, retooling, or rebuilding. That is/was his biggest issue in Chicago because he’s a competitor at heart and wants to win.
According to CapFriendly, the Capitals have a bit more deadline cap space ($5 million). For that reason, the Caps might be more of a fit than the Oilers or Stars. If Washington thinks he can be a good defensive center for them and the Blackhawks are open to retaining 50% of Towes’ salary, the Caps have their second, fourth, and fifth-round picks they can use as assets in a deal.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”