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Report: Blackhawks’ steps toward rebuild ‘comes as a shock’ to Jonathan Toews

Toews, in an interview Sunday with The Athletic, said Hawks management never conveyed their plans to rebuild to him or the team’s other core players.

Jonathan Toews expressed confusion over the Blackhawks’ recent moves in a Sunday interview with The Athletic.
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Blackhawks have changed the direction of their franchise significantly within the past two days, angling towards a rebuild — albeit in less than exact fashion — by moving on from Corey Crawford and trading Brandon Saad.

The Hawks’ remaining, aging core of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook was reportedly never informed by general manager Stan Bowman or anyone else in the front office of that decision, however.

In a Sunday interview with The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus, Toews expressed dismay and concern over the Hawks’ personnel decisions.

“The expectation for the other leaders on this team and myself is to come ready to training camp every year to be a playoff team,” Toews told Lazerus. “I’ve never been told that we were going through a rebuild. That has never been communicated to me, for that matter. A lot of this comes as a shock because it’s a completely different direction than we expected.”

While Saturday’s Saad-for-Nikita Zadorov trade with the Avalanche doesn’t seem to actually aid the Hawks’ newly committed youth movement, the departure of Saad two days after the departure of Crawford clearly rattled Toews.

The lack of communication seemingly rattled him, too. Bowman gave a more explicit statement to the media Thursday, declaring: “Now that we’ve made the decision the way that we’re going to move forward [with youth], there’s going to be a lot more things that we’re going to talk about over the coming days as far as planning next year’s team.”

Toews, Kane, Keith and Seabrook all have complete no-movement clauses attached to their contracts, essentially preventing the Hawks’ firesale from touching them directly, though. Toews told Lazerus he would not agree to waive his clause if asked to do so.