Jonathan Toews - Playing Career - Professional

Professional

In 2007–2008, he opted out of his final two years of college hockey eligibility to debut with the Blackhawks after signing a 3-year, entry level contract on May 16, 2007. He scored his first NHL goal on his first shot in his first game on October 10, 2007, against the San Jose Sharks. He then recorded the second-longest point-scoring streak to start an NHL career, registering a point in each of his first 10 games (5 goals, 5 assists). On January 1, 2008, Toews sprained his knee in a game against the Los Angeles Kings. Despite missing 16 games from the injury, Toews led all rookies in goal-scoring and finished third in points. Toews finished second in team scoring behind fellow rookie Patrick Kane. Toews and Kane battled all season for the lead in team and rookie scoring before Toews went down to injury. The two were both nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year along with Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Bäckström. Toews finished as a runner-up to Kane.

Following his successful rookie campaign, Toews was named team captain of the Blackhawks on July 18, 2008. At 20 years and 79 days, he became the third-youngest team captain in NHL history, behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Toews had previously been named an alternate captain in December 2007, during the 2007–08 season. In the subsequent season, he was voted as a starter, along with teammates Patrick Kane and Brian Campbell, for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. He netted his first career hat trick in the NHL on February 27, 2009, in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He finished the 2008–09 season with 69 points in 82 games, helping the Blackhawks to their first post-season appearance since 2002. Toews added 13 points in 17 playoff games as the Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in five games.

Less than a month into the 2009–2010 season, Toews was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms after receiving an open-ice hit from defenceman Willie Mitchell in a 3–2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on October 21, 2009. Toews had his head down while receiving a pass in the neutral zone when Mitchell left the penalty box and checked him with his shoulder. He was sidelined for several games before returning to the lineup.

In the final year of his contract, Toews, as well as teammates Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane, agreed to extensions in early December 2009. His deal was structured similarly to Kane's, worth about $6.5 million annually for five seasons. Toews finished the season with 68 points in 76 games.

During the 2010 playoffs, Toews recorded his second career hat trick, along with two assists, leading the Blackhawks in a 7-4 playoff victory against the Vancouver Canucks on May 7, 2010. On June 9, 2010, Toews led Chicago to the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship since 1961, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth game of the Finals. He became the second-youngest captain in the history of the NHL to win the Cup, behind Sidney Crosby who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to the championship the previous season. He scored seven goals and 29 points in the playoffs, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. By winning the Stanley Cup, he also became the youngest player, at 22 years old, to become a member of the Triple Gold Club (Olympic gold, Stanley Cup, World Championship).

In the off-season, Toews was selected to be the cover player for EA Sports' video game NHL 11 on June 21, 2010. It marked the first time in EA Sports history that two players of the same team were featured on a video game cover two years in a row, as Patrick Kane had been on the cover of NHL 10.

During the 2010–11 season, Toews recorded a career-high 76 points in 80 games. Due to salary cap restraints, the Blackhawks were forced to trade away many of their players from the previous seasons' championship-winning team, including Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd. As a result, the Blackhawks narrowly made the 2011 playoffs, ending the regular season eighth in the Western Conference. Down three-games-to-none in the opening round against the Vancouver Canucks, the Blackhawks won three straight games to force a game seven. In the deciding contest, Toews scored a shorthanded game-tying goal with 1:26 remaining in regulation. The Canucks went on to score five minutes into the ensuing overtime period to eliminate the Blackhawks. Toews had four points in the seven-game series.

Toews was to play in the 2012 All-Star Game, but an injury sustained during a 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators kept him from playing; he was replaced by Scott Hartnell. Toews finished the 2011-12 NHL season with 57 points in an injury shortened year. He returned to play at the start of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he scored the overtime winner in Game 5 to send the series back to Chicago for Game 6, where Phoenix won 4-0 to eliminate the Blackhawks from the playoffs.

Read more about this topic:  Jonathan Toews, Playing Career

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