On Monday, TSN concluded their Franchise Faceoff poll with a victory for Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Nobody should be surprised that Toews won something, but what do these results mean to Toews macro appeal?
TSN’s poll, which was limited to players that weren’t yet 23 years old, was set up into brackets and fans voted on each matchup of individuals. Patrick Kane advanced all the way to the final four, where he lost to Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (who lost to Toews in the finals).
In the poll, Toews was matched up against some of the best young players in the NHL: Carolina’s Jeff Skinner (the 2011 Calder Trophy winner), Colorado star Matt Duchene and LA Kings superstar (and Toews’ teammate on Canada’s 2010 gold medal Olympic team) Drew Doughty.
And he won convincingly.
On March 1, 2010, I wrote that Toews was on the brink of becoming one of the faces of the NHL. At that time, Kane was the face of the franchise in Chicago. He was on the video game cover and had the hype of being the top overall pick and Calder Trophy winner.
Yet all Toews does is win. When I wrote that piece, Toews had won two World Junior Championships, a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal. He was the youngest captain in the NHL, and had already played in an NHL All-Star Game.
In the four months that followed that piece, Toews added the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, and was put on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL ’11. He also became the youngest member of the IIHF Triple Gold Club.
Since then, Toews has played in a second NHL All-Star Game, was a finalist for the Selke Trophy, and posted his second 30-goal season while leading the Blackhawks back to the playoffs for a third straight year. In those playoffs, his clutch, short-handed goal with less under two minutes left in regulation forced overtime in Game 7 against the Canucks.
All TSN’s poll did was confirm what Blackhawks fans have known for four years: Jonathan Toews is one of the best players in the NHL, and has quickly become a marketing centerpiece for the Hawks and the NHL.