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Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews: 'I Don't Know If Anyone Feels Safe' After Hagel Trade

Scott Polacek

Center Jonathan Toews is a Chicago Blackhawks legend, but even that isn't enough for him to feel safe ahead of Monday's trade deadline.

"If he's not a guy that's a part of a rebuild, then I don't know," Toews said, per Mark Lazerus of The Athletic. "I don't know if anyone feels safe at this point."

The comments came after the Blackhawks traded left-winger Brandon Hagel, a 2022 fourth-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forwards Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, a top-10 protected 2023 first-round pick and a top-10 protected 2024 first-round pick, per Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports.

"I said a few weeks ago that we are rebuilding, and this is clearly the start of that," general manager Kyle Davidson said in a statement, per Roumeliotis. "Getting two first round draft picks as well as two, young, NHL players helps us kickstart that process in a major way. We know that Brandon Hagel was a fan favorite—our fans loved him for all the reasons we loved him—and we know he will be successful with the Lightning."

Chicago is rebuilding, but Hagel is just 23 years old. It's not as if he is an aging veteran who wouldn't be a major contributor when the team is once again ready to compete for a Stanley Cup. 

He had 37 points on 21 goals and 16 assists in 55 games for Chicago this season, which are all career-best marks. He joins a Lightning team in championship-or-bust mode after winning the last two Stanley Cups and could be a key contributor down the stretch.

Tampa Bay is 39-15-6 and four points behind the Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division. It is also just one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs and five points ahead of the Boston Bruins in a tight race heading into the final push of the regular season.

As for the Blackhawks, they are 22-30-9 and on their way to a second straight season without making the playoffs. They haven't made it past the first round since they won the Stanley Cup in 2015, which was their third title in a six-year span.

It is that stretch of championships that makes a potential Toews or Patrick Kane trade so noteworthy.

On the one hand, the team is not in contention, and Toews will be 34 years old in April and Kane is 33. On the other hand, they are both future Hall of Famers who have become synonymous with the Blackhawks and were driving forces behind those championships.

Trading them would send shockwaves through the organization and its fans, even if there was some hockey sense behind such moves. Toews clearly believes that possibility is still on the table given his comments.


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