Unless you’ve been living under a rock since, say, 2010, you’ve heard a lot, rightly, about how fantastic Jonathan Toews generally is. A great leader yada yada and an instrumental part in three Stanley Cup championship teams. There are also those who’ve said he would have the same stats as Sidney Crosby, but he just cares about defense too dang much!
I think this season has served as nothing if not a complete debunking of that premise.
He has a measly 22 points this season with just seven goals. He’s only got 98 shots on goal so it’s not like his puck luck his been historically awful. Toews has only been a 50.3% Corsi adjusted player this season, as pointed out by Yung Intelligence, Ryan Lambert, at Puck Daddy.
The makings of a more defensive Sidney Crosby this is not.
Chicago doesn’t have the assets, as Lambert points out, to bring in a magical fix left winger without mortgaging their future, and with the team being relatively mediocre besides one extremely hot stretch, you’d have to think this is one of those years they don’t load up at the deadline with a Duchene or even a Hanzal.
There are only so many more opportunities this core is going to have, and the Blackhawks will have to judiciously choose when to go for it and when to let it ride. With the way the team’s played lately, it’s looking like the latter course will be the case this year.
So the hole on Toews’ line doesn’t look like it’s getting fixed with anything more than an older Patrick Sharp than Blackhawks fans will remember or the rotting corpse of Jarome Iginla.
Even if he got a solid winger, how much better can you really expect his stats to be? He’s never been a consistent 80 point player. He’s never been close to the Crosby’s or McDavid’s of the world, regardless of what the media will tell you. That’s not his game. He’s more Patrice Bergeron than Evgeni Malkin.
And that’s fine! It’s not going to win you fantasy titles though, and a comparison to Bergeron this year even is not very flattering to Toews at all. So if he’s not even anywhere near that level or even Alex Wennberg’s, what’s the point of keeping him? He’s not going to break out and go at a point per game the rest of the way.
There are players who will probably put together as good a statistical run as Toews’ best case on the waiver wire currently. Our AATJ league has Wennberg for free, for example, and he’s been better in every way fantasy wise this year.
This is not to disparage Toews as a player. I’d love for him to be on the Devils every day. But the fact of the matter is he’s not a great fantasy player. Fantasy is built on offense and he’s not one of the best offensive players. He may be as valuable as anyone to the Blackhawks (Kane aside), and they’d never trade him, but it doesn’t make him a fantasy phenom.
He’s a great leader and a great defensive forward at his peak. But he’s not a stud fantasy player. There’s surely someone in your league who doesn’t know this and buys into his great untapped offensive potential. Let him deal with Jonathan.