Jonathan Toews is reportedly contemplating his future after the rebuilding Blackhawks traded forward Brandon Hagel to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.
“Yeah, if ‘Hags’ is the guy to get traded, if he’s not a guy that’s a part of a rebuild, then I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone feels safe at this point, with the way he’s been playing and what he’s meant to our team,” the Blackhawks captain told The Athletic on Friday. “I had a hard time thinking in my mind that he would be one of the guys to get shipped off, considering what he brought in. Yeah, that was a tough one to see. I’m pretty shocked, for sure.”
Hagel scored 37 points (21 goals, 16 assists) in 55 games this season for the Blackhawks and has two seasons remaining on a three-year, $4.5 million contract ($1.5 average annual value) he signed Aug. 6, 2021. The 23-year-old forward was traded along with a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and 2024 draft for forwards Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddyshand a first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and 2024 draft that are top-10 protected.
Toews, 33, who has scored 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 50 games this season, has one season remaining on the eight-year contract he signed July 9, 2014.
Asked if he was ready to get behind a rebuild and take on a role of bringing up the next crop of players in Chicago, Toews said he wasn’t sure he could answer now.
“I feel like these last three to four years, that’s what it’s felt like, constantly trying to work on your own game and improve and adapt to how good the game’s gotten, but also, part-time, here and there trying to bring young guys along in some way, as best as you can,” Toews said. “Obviously, there’s always room for improvement there. Of course, you invest a ton of energy and emotion and care with your teammates because you’re all working toward that common goal. Now all of a sudden you realize no one on our team is safe and we could all be going in different directions in the near future — it’s pretty discouraging. I’ll leave it at that for now.” — Tracey Myers
Mark Giordano will sit out a second straight game when the Kraken host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; ROOT-NW, BSDET, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).
The Seattle captain said he understands why the Kraken are holding him out of the lineup even though he’s healthy, with a trade likely.
“You never know for sure that a trade is going to happen,” the defenseman said. “But it’s obviously leaning that way and then after all is said and done, it will be a quick turnaround for my family, but I’m sure we’ll have lots of help.”
The 38-year-old, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season, also sat out a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, when he was honored for playing his 1,000th NHL game, which happened on March 5 in a 5-2 loss at the Washington Capitals.
“In my situation and having good conversation with (general manager) Ronnie (Francis) and the coaches, it’s probably the right thing to do,” he said.
The first captain in the Kraken history has scored 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 55 games. Giordano was acquired by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21, 2021, after playing 15 NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames.
He said it was nerve wracking being healthy and not playing but he understands the reason.
Giordano said he’s “living day to day, hour to hour, to be honest, now that it’s getting so close to the deadline.”
“It’s weird, I’ve never been through this before, so it’s different, yeah, pretty much living day to day,” he said. “It’s a tough situation, but we all understand what’s going on.”
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights are optimistic about Robin Lehner returning to the lineup soon.
The goalie has missed six games with an upper-body injury.
“Heading in a positive direction,” coach Peter DeBoer said Friday. “I think he’s excited to get back. I don’t have a time frame yet, but I don’t think it’s far off.
“I expect him back.”
Depending on how long Lehner remains out, the Golden Knights may look to acquire a goalie before the trade deadline. The 30-year-old has not played since a 2-1 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on March 8. Two days later, the Golden Knights announced he was being sent back to Las Vegas for a lower-body injury. He had started four of the previous five games since returning from an upper-body injury that caused him to miss six games.
One goalie who could be available is Marc-Andre Fleury. The 37-year-old was traded by the Golden Knights to the Blackhawks on July 27, 2021 after playing the previous four seasons with them, including their run to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.
Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon said Feb. 15 a reunion with Fleury was very unlikely.
“There is absolutely no credence to that rumor at all,” McCrimmon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I wouldn’t normally speak (officially) on such things, but there will be so much racket about this, it’s important to let people know that’s not going to happen.”
Laurent Brossoit has started three of the four games for Vegas since Lehner was injured and is 0-3-0 with a 4.02 goals-against average and .853 save percentage. Logan Thompson started the other game and relieved Brush in a 7-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. He made 33 saves in a 5-3 win against the Florida Panthers to help the Golden Knights end a five-game losing streak.
Vegas (33-26-4) is one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference heading into its game Saturday at home against the Los Angeles Kings (4 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM , BSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).
Hampus Lindholm did not play for the Ducks in their 3-0 home loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday because of asset management.
The Ducks could trade the 28-year-old defenseman before the deadline. He’s in the final season of a six-year contract and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
“If you walked down there to Hampus right now, he’s focused on the workout he’s doing,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said Friday. “He’s an incredible kid the way he can think his way through things. He’s not rattled by anything. He wants to win tonight, all those things. I’d like to give you something dramatic that it’s been really hard on him, but that’s a mentally tough kid.
“He’s taken the approach he’s just going to worry about his day, what’s in front of him and what he can control and go about it that way. He’s good. I’m really proud of him.”
Lindholm has scored 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 61 games this season.
Defenseman Josh Manson was traded by the Ducks to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday for defenseman prospect Drew Helleson and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
The Ducks do not play again before the deadline Monday. — Dan Arritt