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What About Jonathan Toews As A Kadri Replacement?

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Jonathan Toews
Ross D. Franklin/AP

I really don’t try to “clickbait” too much because, you know, I have some standards and quaint old journalistic notions that you shouldn’t do that (no jokes please). But, hell, it’s July 30 and we’re still sitting around waiting to see what happens with Nazem Kadri and this is a website devoted to All Things Avalanche. And, a reader put forth a proposal to me the other day that, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. It involves Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks icon, coming to the Colorado Avalanche.

First off, I’ve heard absolutely nothing that this could or will happen. But second, Toews doesn’t seem too thrilled with what’s been going on in Chicago the last few months, roster-wise. The team has traded some really good young players, such as Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Hagel and Kirby Dach, in moves that were heavily criticized for not getting enough back. He told Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, “At the end of the day, we’re talking about a five-plus-year process, according to Kyle (Davidson, GM). So that part of it doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. I can’t speak for Kaner, but I definitely feel that the amount of turnover our team has gone through every single year these last three or four years, that’s where it gets really, really draining. And exhausting.”

In his talk with Lazerus, Toews also said how he finally feels great again physically, and can’t wait to get the next season going, to prove to people he’s got a lot left in the tank.

So, here you have a player who doesn’t sound like he wants to be part of any rebuilding process, who doesn’t seem to be having any talks whatsoever about signing an extension with the Blackhawks, who has one year left on his contract, at a $10.5 million cap hit, who can be UFA after this coming season.

Sounds like a guy who, if I’m Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland anyway, I might be interested in as a possible replacement for Kadri – who remains unsigned.

One key thing: Toews has a full no-move, no-trade clause. Chicago cannot trade him without his consent, to anywhere. But, hmm, wonder if Toews might waive that clause to come to the defending Stanley Cup champions who might – might – have an opening at second-line center?

But Dater, what about that $10.5 million cap hit? Well, Chicago could retain half of it, or enough of it anyway, in order for the Avalanche to fit him in. The Avalanche could also trade a player or two back to Chicago to create more space to allow a Toews to come here. Then, Toews gets to come to a winner who wants him, would play a meaningful role here and also get to play with his brother, Devon.

(That last one is a joke).

Some other numbers on Toews: He’s 34 years old. He had 37 points (12 goals) in 71 games last season. He missed the entire 2020-21 season because of an illness. He’s not the player he once was. But I can definitely see him having a fine year again on a good team. He remains an ace faceoff man, and he’s a true competitor with great leadership skills.

Superstreak Bonus!

Would his presence be almost too much, though, on a team that just won a Cup and has all the leadership pieces in place? I doubt it. I bet Toews would just come in and defer to Gabe Landeskog and just be one of the boys.

Toews maintained his love for Chicago and the fans, and it would be very tough for him to move I’m sure. But this much we know about the Blackhawks of 2022-23: they have a good chance at being the worst team in the league, in my opinion anyway. They are a team almost starting from scratch again in some ways. What’s crazy is the Blackhawks moved out some of their best young players who would have made a rebuild easier, and kept the older, expensive guys like Toews and Patrick Kane. Yeah, they both have no-trade deals and contracts that are tough to move. But surely there would have been some team to take them on – assuming they’d waive the NMC.

Who would go to the Blackhawks in return? Well, first off, don’t expect it would be Sam Girard. I wrote a couple weeks ago or so that, based on my latest understanding of things, he is not being offered around by the Avalanche to “clear cap space” for Kadri or anyone else. J.T. Compher? Yeah, I could see it. He’s an Illinois native who grew up a big Blackhawks fan, with one year left on his deal before he goes UFA. His $3.5 million cap space would, in fact, open up enough room for a Jonathan Toews (assuming Chicago eats a good portion of his salary).

I’m sure Blackhawks fans would be outraged if that’s all they got for a franchise icon. But they don’t have a lot of leverage here. He’s a 34-year-old player who has seen better days, with a monster cap hit, who can go anywhere he wants after this coming season.

Here’s what I think the more likely scenario will be with Toews: He’s going to be a hot commodity at the NHL trade deadline. Assuming the Blackhawks are nowhere near the playoffs, and with teams such as the Avalanche likely have a lot more accrued cap space by then, a deadline deal is the more realistic scenario.

But if the Avalanche lose Kadri soon, do they want to just try and tread water at his position all season with other solutions (Mikko Rantanen as a 2C, or Alex Newhook)? I don’t think I like the idea of Rantanen as a 2C. He’s a big winger who can play up and down the wall and do heavy damage. He’s been a winger most of his entire life. Newhook could well become a great 2C. But it feels like it would be a little too rushed in this case.

Jonathan Toews, as a replacement for Kadri in the short-term? I like the sound of that.

What about you, Avalanche fan?

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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onthefly

Why not waiting at the trade deadline to aquire him? I would try Compher or Newhook at 2C before making any decision .

Glendon Gulliver

I have thought about it. It is plausible for a year, but it would most likely require the trade of Girard and or Compher, plus the Blackhawks retaining salary. I think Toews might be interested, but would the Avs?

John Mauss

No problem if we trade Compher. Both he and Toews have one year contracts. Buys time for Newhook to mature. Either way we have a JT…

John Mauss

Also, I like the face-off improvement.

dk

Wrong Blackhawk. Kane should be the only one in consideration.

Bob Neal

Geez DK, I get tired of agreeing with you. I think we’d be better off hanging with JTC until the trade deadline.

gurnblanston

I think this is a deal Pierre would do, but not Sakic or MacFarland.

John Hansen

Love his grit, but I don’t think he’s got much left in the tank. I have to say I sure feel sorry for him and Hawks fans for what’s happening to the franchise, though.

Lew Barr

I believe Kadri brought more to the team than scoring points in that he played with an edge and stood up for his teammates. If the Avs cannot resign him I would like to see them sign someone who plays with the same intensity that Kadri does.

Demetris Gray

Yeah, and left a huge hole last year when he went head hunting. Could have used him versus VKG. But he alone made sure that would hot happen. Avs could have should have won the Cup the year before.

RaNTrabid

Would rather sign Stastny. Less $ and don’t give up anything. Or better yet, trade G for some high draft picks and sign Kadri

Demetris Gray

Fool!

John

No relation to Devon.

Demetris Gray

AD is the brother of Teri Frei too!

Neil Bergin

37 points in 71 games. No thank you. I think Compher or Newhook could put up those kind of numbers. Maybe if it was five years ago.

Last edited 4 months ago by Neil Bergin
dp10

Everything about the Blackhawks seems a) a bit toxic at the moment and b) like a good idea 8 years too late.

I do like the idea of a stop gap at 2C, someone who will allow Newhook to ease into the role a bit more.

ricoflashback

Sam Girard would look great in a Blackhawks jersey. Chief “Le Minnow.” Chicago gets a good, puck moving defenseman with a long term contract and just about the time the Blackhawks turn it around – – Sammy will be in line for a big raise. A win-win for everyone.

dk

I wouldn’t trade Girard’s toenail clippings for Toews. That dude’s an empty sweater.

ricoflashback

Toews is an empty sweater? Three Stanley Cups to his name and he’s playing on a horrific team. I’d trade Girard for the cap relief and re-sign Kadri as option one. Toews would fit in nicely as a second center for the Avs if Kadri leaves. This is the best time to trade Girard as hopefully a lot of other GM’s have an inflated opinion of Sammy circles as you do. Girard would really wilt with a poor team and be even more exposed as an undersized, regular season “Ice Capades” player. Thankfully, he was out the last two series… Read more »

dk

Wrong. Toews is a shadow of the player that won (way past tense) cups. I stand by my statement that he’s an empty sweater.

Trade Girard? Yes. Now? No. The trade deadline is the time methinks.

Nathan

Yes I do agree with you hear. Either way the silent rumblings of Girard being traded will keep surfacing until it happens , more then likely pretty soon. Need to pay Byram soon.

Yan Girard

You shouldn’t give him false hope because he may be unhappy for a very long time.

Demetris Gray

What have your done for me lately ring a bell? 2015 was a long time ago when Toews was 27.

hockeyhacker5

So what do you call Compher? Toews had more points last season and even had more total points over the past three seasons than Compher despite being ill and missing an entire season. He says he’s finally healthy and feeling good. No reason to believe he won’t outscore Compher yet again. He’s also noticeably better on faceoffs than Kadri or Compher. If Chicago retained half his salary in a trade for Compher I’d make that deal in a heartbeat. Chicago would save money and get a local boy back who would be happy playing for them. Avs would have a… Read more »

dk

Toews gets paid $10.5m per year. Thats the difference. So, the question then is he worth it? At half retained, is he even worth it? Answer: no.

I would rather see Compher stay than have Toews, equivalent performance for a way lower cap hit.

Demetris Gray

Depends. Though the AD silliness does fuel his website.

Glendon Gulliver

There are now 5 UFA’s remaining who scored 40+ Points:

Kadri
Bergeron
Kessel
Stastny
Rodrigues

Jeffrey Anderson

Assuming Kadri is not an option – seems so to me. Rodrigues would be the best fit for Avs. He can skate, finish, 29 RH shot, a middle 6, center or wing, and would be cheap.

Demetris Gray

Something has scared teams off to Rod…

dk

Uh, no. Even at $5.25m, he is not worth it. He has been objectively bad since his illness/injury.

Yan Girard

A center player must make the players around him better. Newhook is not ready for the position of 2nd center. If Newhook starts year 2C and doesn’t do the job, do you send him to the wing? What message will you send to Newhook? It’s a very bad idea to play in the head of Newhook who does not yet have a full season of playing in the NHL. The center player must not be the WEAK link on a line. Toews would be a temporary solution. He is no longer the player he used to be and his career… Read more »

L R C

I agree with Lew – Kadri added more to the Avs than some think. Heck, he scored the final goal on the Stanley! He’s got some fantastic energy! I know there’s stuff that may make him skate off into someone else’s rink, but I’d love to see the Avs keep him at least one more Stanley successful season!

Ted Grycel

not a bad thought at all

Stan Bolin

Two more Avs sweaters wit just their last names?

Tom

Alex Jones, is he that Trump mouthpiece, he is a piece of s***!!!!. I don’t want the Avalanche to trade Compher, he has developed into an important part of the team and showed it in the playoffs!! The only way I would trade him would be in a bigger move, packaged with others, to get something significant back ? If my memory serves me well, JT, won some key faceoffs, scored a couple of timely goals and he goes to the net and sticks up for his teammates, you can’t ask more than that from someone!!!!

Kenny

Keep JT, dude has heart and grit and can score! New hook isn’t ready and mikko doesn’t have enough toughness to be a 2C imo, his best abilities is a winger ready for one-timers. There’s gotta be a way to sign kadri for 1 year then sign Nathan’s massive contract next year. Or just don’t do anything and wait until the TD

Susan

Devon and Jonathan Toews are not brothers.

Forrest Adian

Couldn’t the Avs sign and trade Kadri for the extra year?

Glendon Gulliver

We are now coming up on three weeks since free agency opened up. We are no closer to re-signing Kadri or replacing him. The Avs have signed some depth players, but they have not brought in anyone who could play on the top three lines. With the loss of Burakovsky and most likely Kadri, those holes have not been filled. Yes, we re-signed Lehkonen, but he was already a fixture on the top six at the end of the season and playoffs and should not be seen as a replacement. To re-sign Kadri, the Avs will have to lose at… Read more »

Yan Girard

How can you say that Sedlak is a grinder and will only be assigned to a defensive role with the team? Sedlak is 29 years old and plays in the KHL. He is the top scorer and the 3rd in the goals for his team. The KHL is a men’s league and it’s not the junior. After 3 years in the NHL, Nichushkin played 2 years in the KHL. Before playing with the Blackhawks, Artemi Panarin played 7 seasons in the KHL. All players who come from the KHL are grinders? How can you say that Compher and Newhook are… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Alexander A.
Effem Ahl

(That last one is a joke).” I hate you! JK.

As for who could go to Chicago: how ’bout………Kadri!

Rob K

The Blackhawks should have gotten rid of Toews and kept DeBrincat, Hagel, and Dach. Maybe if Toews would of given back some of his salary which he isn’t worth the Hawks could have fielded more competitive teams the last few years. No way Toews should be making the same amount of money as Kane.

Demetris Gray

Let’s just move forward as is and forget about Kadri. Avs rehabbed him so he owes the team something. We’ll have about $5M of cap space when the final roster is set. Avs have plenty of players to give some experience. Even sending newhook down again should be in play. And hold the cards for another Lehkonen at the trade deadline. Increase expectations of the top six players on the team especially Rantanen. We have plenty of fire power on the team. Sakic will not overpay for Kadri at his age and with the risk the lobotomy was a short-term… Read more »

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