After a career year offensively in 2018-19, the Blackhawks captain picked up right where he left off and continued to be productive on the team’s top line this year.
After failing to hit the 60-point plateau in each of his three seasons from 2015-2018 and undoubtedly losing confidence in his game, Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews rebounded in a gigantic manner in 2018-19. The 2010 Conn Smyth Trophy winner posted career-highs in goals (35), assists (46), points (81), even-strength goals (25), shots (354), average time on ice (21:00), faceoff wins (1059), and shots blocked (44) while playing in all 82 games for just the second time in his career. The Captain had officially returned.
While Toews is always a guarantee to play a strong defensive game, many were worried that his offense would drop off once again in 2019-20 after such a significant jump the season before. For the first 11 games of the season, those worries became a reality, as Toews recorded just one goal and one assist out of the gate. After those first 11 games though, it was like Toews flipped a switch and was a completely different player. In the final 59 contests of the regular season, he went on to tally 17 goals and 41 assists for 58 points, which is right back to the point-per-game pace he was at last year. Toews finished with 60 points (18G, 42A) in 70 games, and if the remainder of the season had not been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he was on track to produce his third 70-point campaign in his 13 years with the Blackhawks.
As always, Toews finished top-10 (8th) in the NHL in faceoff win percentage at 57.29%. His time on ice per game was back down to 19:47, right near his career average of 19:52. Toews also finished with 56 hits, 35 shots blocked, and 58 takeaways, which all were on pace for what he averages in an 82-game season.
One area of Toews’ game that was a bit concerning in 2019-20 was his high number of penalty minutes. His 48 PIM served as the third-most of his NHL career, and the final 12 games of the season didn’t even get played. Jeremy Colliton and the Blackhawks NEED their top-line center on the ice as much as possible, but it is hard to do that when he’s in the sin bin for taking an unnecessary penalty.
One other stat that was a bit troublesome was Toews’ 10.5 shooting percentage this season, which is likely why he wound up with a career-low 18 goals. Toews has a career average shooting percentage of 13.9%, and he was on track for over 200 shots on goal this year, so it’s possible that just poor puck luck led to his stunted goal total. It could also be due to both Toews and the Blackhawks’ poor powerplay performance, as he had only one (!!) power-play goal in 2019-20.
Looking at Toews’ possession metrics, and much like fellow three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane, who was yesterday’s ‘Regular Season Recap’ feature, he also had one of his worst years in this department. Toews’ 50.5 CF% was the second-lowest of his career only to his rookie season, and his 69 goals against while at even strength are the second-most of his career as well. Also, like Kane though, Toews’ offensive zone start percentage was down significantly from his career average (55.5% in 2019-20, 58.6% on his career), which could have played a part in his lower-than-normal possession numbers.
Overall, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews had a much-needed productive season for the second consecutive year after three struggle-filled campaigns in a row. 2015-2018 was a tough time for Toews, as he was becoming noticeably frustrated during his post-game interviews, frequently running out of answers to give to the reporters. The last two years have been filled with much better results from Toews though, and hopefully, he can continue to produce at this pace while the Hawks try and get back to their winning ways.
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