Chicago Blackhawks will not re-sign captain Jonathan Toews this offseason

Jonathan Toews has played his final game with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Toews, who has spent 15 seasons with the organization, will not be re-signed this offseason. He skated his final contest Thursday night, scoring a goal in the Blackhawks' 5-4 overtime loss.

"I’ve had a number of conversations with Jonathan throughout the season about his future with the Blackhawks, and recently, we had the difficult conversation that we won’t be re-signing him this offseason," Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said in a statement. "Tonight, will be his final game as a Blackhawk, and it was very important to us to be able to provide the proper send-off for Jonathan and our fans."

The longtime Blackhawks captain did not give any indication on his immediate plans after the game.

"I look back on my career and I've been so lucky, it's been like a fairytale and this is just the perfect ending here in Chicago," Toews said. "I'm overwhelmed. I don't know what to say. This is too much. I don't deserve this. I've been so lucky to be a part of some great teams. Some amazing people, some amazing players."

Toews has earned his place in Blackhawks history. He led the organization to three Stanley Cup titles and became a six-time NHL All-Star. Toews also won the 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and was recognized as one of the 100 greatest NHL players.

This season, Toews has battled with symptoms of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome. He missed 27 games and briefly considered retirement before returning earlier this month. Toews has played in six games since his return.

Jonathan Toews salutes the crowd after playing his final game for the Blackhawks.
Jonathan Toews salutes the crowd after playing his final game for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are heading in a new direction this offseason. They are expected to overhaul the roster and rebuild with young talent. Chicago owns a 26-49-7 record and are in contention for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft.

Toews, 34, has not decided whether he will retire or play next season. “The thought of playing for another team right now is so far in the back of my mind right now, especially after that moment,” Toews said after Thursday's game. “I always thought I’d retire a Blackhawk and part of me still believes in that, so we’ll see.”

The Blackhawks made it clear they wanted to honor him one final time.

"He has done so much for this organization, and no matter where he plays next, we’re excited our fans get the chance to show Jonathan exactly how much he means to them," Davidson said.

Toews is indeed a fan favorite. He developed a special connection with the fan base after being selected third overall in the 2006 NHL draft. He later became team captain after just 64 career games and held the position since.

Fans are expected to support No. 19 at the United Center. He represents the last pillar of the championship dynasty that included Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

"We can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done," Davidson said.

Contributing: Associated Press 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chicago Blackhawks won't retain Jonathan Toews this offseason