Blackhawks Monday Mailbag (On A Tuesday): Blowing It Up and Toews Propaganda?

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Blackhawks Monday Mailbag (On A Tuesday): Blowing It Up and Toews Propaganda?

Chicago Blackhawks

Welcome back to the mailbag! We took a breather yesterday after the news of Jimmy Hayes’ passing, but are back to get into your Blackhawks questions this week.

Remember, you can send in questions on Twitter using the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag or email them to us at Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com. Send them anytime about the Blackhawks, IceHogs, and everything in-between this offseason.

Question 1: If the Hawks are failing/faltering at the trade deadline, whose fault is it, who gets moved and where? – @chiguy8506 (Twitter)

I really don’t see a situation in which things get so bad for the Blackhawks this season that they have to blow everything up within the year. Last year, you could see where the Blackhawks would make moves as the trade deadline approached if they were not in playoff contention. Guys like Mattias Janmark and Carl Söderberg were clearly those kinds of players.

This season, if things do end up going south so badly that Chicago has to sell-off pieces, I would include players like Dylan Strome and Alexander Nylander in that category. But, if those players aren’t the problem, things could get tricky if the Blackhawks feel like they need a reset heading into next season. Calvin de Haan is on an expiring contract, as are both of Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia, although pending stellar training camps, it’s likely that neither of those two are with the Blackhawks to start the season as Marc-André Fleury and Kevin Lankinen seem penciled into the two goaltender spots for Chicago.

As far as whose fault it would be, there’s clearly a target on head coach Jeremy Colliton’s back from the Blackhawks fanbase. At times, rightfully so, and at other times it’s just easy to scapegoat the head coach when he was replacing a legend and they haven’t had instant success. The biggest reason I would blame Colliton for any kind of collapse is if the cause of the hypothetical collapse is due to god-awful defensive coverage/breakdowns. If the new-look blue-line is still having the same issues as the past three seasons, then you point the finger directly at the person implanting the system. But I don’t feel like the defense will have those same problems with the additions of Seth Jones and Jake McCabe, as well as subtracting Nikita Zadorov from the equation as well.

Question 2: Colliton didn’t sound too confident that Toews was going to be ready to play at the beginning of the season. How screwed are the Blackhawks going to be when the “Toews is healthy” propaganda runs out and he doesn’t play? – Shawn W. (via Email)

Maybe I’m too optimistic, or maybe I’m too naive, but I wouldn’t think that Jonathan Toews would allow himself to be used as a prop to gain positive reactions to the Blackhawks organization when they are looking for anything good to promote. This is his physical health and his career that he is working to be healthy for.

In the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton spoke about Toews’ recovery and condition heading into training camp. While he didn’t say that Toews was 100% ready to go, he also didn’t convince me that he has an understanding that Toews will be ready to take the opening face-off of the 2021-22 season.

Toews has said that he is feeling better as times goes on and that finally having some sort of understanding of what was ailing him for so long and kept him out of the entire 2020-21 season has helped him on his path back to playing in Chicago this season. His goal is to be in the lineup on night one, but Colliton and Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman continue to downplay any expectations for Toews to be ready to be an 82-game, top-line player this year.

If Toews is not able to go every night, the depth at the center position for the Blackhawks this season is in a better spot than they were last season, in my eyes. Chicago will have a healthy Kirby Dach ready to go and ready to take a step forward in his responsibilities this year, as well as Tyler Johnson, Henrik Borgström, Adam Gaudette, Ryan Carpenter, Jujhar Khaira, Philipp Kurashev, Dylan Strome, and potentially Lukas Reichel that could end up slotting into place down the middle this season. Plus with the development of the younger players year-over-year, and the likely improvement defensively, I wouldn’t term the Blackhawks as exactly “screwed” without Toews for a full season.

I wanted to take one last opportunity to commemorate former Blackhawk Jimmy Hayes. This video was sent out by the NHL today as Hayes’ passing has really shaken-up the hockey world.

The cause of death is still unknown, but at 31-years-old, to pass away so suddenly is concerning and heart-breaking. And as a fellow 31-year-old, it’s really made me look at my own health and my own life. Just remember to take every moment in and to tell your loved ones what they mean to you. Be well.

That’ll do it for this edition of the Monday Mailbag! We’ll be doing this all offseason and maybe even into the regular season as we get closer to the start of the 2021-22 year. Be sure to send in questions on Twitter using #BNHawksMailbag or emailing them to Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.