When the season began, Jonathan Toews was coming off one of the most historic seasons in the history of not only the Chicago Blackhawks, but hockey in general.
He made the Canadian Olympic roster as one of the bottom four forwards, and emerged by the end of the tournament as the Most Outstanding Forward.
The Blackhawks signed him to a five-year deal, locking up their young captain for at least the first eight seasons of his career.
And the Hawks competed for, and won a division championship, followed by the historic run to the Stanley Cup championship that ended with Toews winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player.
Certainly he couldn’t follow that season up with a better year… right?
The first half of the 2010-11 season was rough for the Blackhawks, who dealt with injuries an inconsistency all over the roster. For Toews, he didn’t get off to the strongest start in the scoring department, but was winning faceoffs and playing the strong all-around game Blackhawks fans have come to expect.
When he was voted a starter in the All Star Game, Toews backed-up the fans votes by scoring a goal and adding two assists in the game while watching his teammate, Patrick Sharp, win the game’s MVP award.
Since the All Star Game, Toews has been the best player in the NHL.
In 13 games in February, Toews registered a point in 11 and eight were multi-point games; he has 21 points in those 13 games (six goals, 15 assists). He is also plus-13 over that stretch.
At the end of action on Monday night, Toews’ 61 points have quietly joined the top 10 in the NHL for the season, and his plus-20 on the season is among the 20 best in the NHL.
He has taken, and won, as many faceoffs as anyone in the league and is winning over 57 percent of his draws, a ridiculous num
The reality is, he is playing as well – or better – than anyone on the planet right now.
As the season continues, Toews will undoubtedly continue forcing himself into the conversation for the league’s regular season Most Valuable Player honors.