NHL Network Ranks Toews 7th Best Captain Ever

On Monday, NHL Network released their rankings of the top 25 captains in NHL history.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews ranked seventh, the highest active player on the list.

The late Pierre Pilote is the other Blackhawks captain on the list.

48 thoughts on “NHL Network Ranks Toews 7th Best Captain Ever

  1. He is in great company. Hope he’ll be able to keep healthy and play out his contract. Jonathan and Patrick will make great ambassadors with the Hawks.

  2. Hopefully the ambassador talk is a ways off-

    The bottom five of the list seems curious-
    Hatcher, Koivu, and Alfredsson–really? (Some recent bias?)
    Sittler, Bucyk, even Kennedy?

    Maurice Richard only one ahead of Hatcher-

  3. Considering player/Hodgkins-resume-undebatable-Lemieux was a Captain-Owner for a stretch, writing paychecks while outscoring and sweating alongside his players, that Toews is listed above him to me is notable. Wouldn’t expect the voters to understand this, completely understandably as they’ve likely never skated.

  4. Sorry, but Toews is waaaaay too high on this list. Maybe once his career ends, but not right now, especially considering his struggles the last two plus seasons.

  5. I think 19 deserves to be in the top 10, somewhat surprised he’s ahead of Crosby, given his recent upswing and media love.

    J.T. is a great leader and was possibly the biggest reason for the ultimate shift in the Hawks success. Don’t like the amount of complaining he is doing in the last couple of years–but the list has a few of those, namely Clarke and Gretzky.
    (and Gretzky, who I played ball with was arguably, but IMO the greatest hockey player of all time and Clarke was a hero growing up, even though I was a Hawk fan)

  6. People constantly underestimate how great Pierre Pilot was because of the era he played in, and not many saw him play. He won the Norris Trophy in 1963, 1964, 1965, and was the runner up in 1962, 1966, 1967. That is a run of excellence by a defenseman that is unparalleled in Blackhawks history.

    Duncan Keith has been a great player, with a Norris Trophy and a Conn Smythe Trophy. But even he has never reached the level of sustained excellence Pilot had. Only Harvey, Orr, and Lidstrom won the Norris 3 times or more in a row, like Pilot. And the fact he was runner up for three more years around those three years is a six-year run of excellence we may never see again league-wide.

  7. Toews leadership ability might be his greatest asset. Leading the Hawks to 3 Cups is a hall of fame type calling card.

    That said, he does seem slightly high on this list. It is debatable if he should slot ahead of Gretzky, Lemieux, Crosby, and Potvin. But it is hard to tell how much they are weighting individual player excellence / contribution, team success, versus sheer captaining ability alone. If team success is a big factor, Gretzky, Armstrong, and Potvin led their teams to more Cups.

  8. OKIE BLACKHAWKS FAN
    December 19, 2017 at 7:09 am
    Sorry, but Toews is waaaaay too high on this list. Maybe once his career ends, but not right now, especially considering his struggles the last two plus seasons.

    Okie, I really believe he is suffering the lingering effects of his multiple concussions. And possibly the back is bothering him too. The pain leads to frustration & could explain some of his struggles, also the revolving door of line mates doesn’t help…

    It took Crosby a couple seasons to get back to form, hopefully 19 recovers as well.

  9. Kind of an arbitrary list if you think about it. Why isn’t Shane Doan on that list? He outlasted a city and 6 ownership changes, including not having an owner. You can argue he didnt put up the offensive numbers (which always seems to be a prerquisite for any list like this). You can argue he didnt lead his team to victory. But who could with ownership constantly in flux. He was the longest tenured captain when he retired.

  10. pilote was a great defenseman in the org 6 , to bad he was run out of town when his athletic ability waned, to toronto

  11. Noonan I agree Toews seems to complain a lot lately but Crosby has that wrapped up for a multitude of years which earned him the crybaby nickname. Gretzky was the best player on his team but Messier was the leader which hurts his case a bit

  12. During the losing streak, people were wondering if Q “lost the locker room.” I was wondering if Toews lost the locker room. When you have a player that has performed in a mediocre manner for a year or two but continues to suck up $10.5 mil, it could lead to resentment. It would be interesting to know how many Captains that didn’t make this list have won 3 Cups with the same team during their Captaincy, because this ranking seems a bit high for a $5 million dollar player that is pulling down twice that. Joey Zamboni may be on to something that his body is limited by past injuries.

  13. Tazer and Kaner both still have their upswing to come and with the team get deeper again these coming yrs. 2 or 3 yrs younger then those guys as well. Tazer deserves to be ahead of them hes done more at an earlier age then they did.

  14. A 5 million dollar player?

    Dave Bolland is pulling in 5.5million this year…and he hasnt played in almost 2 years.

    Matt Moulson, waived and making 5 million.

    Parise 7.5

    Ryan Callahan 5.8

    Dont be stupid with your comments please. Players are worth what theyre paid. Players arent resentful when someone makes more. Especially someone as distinguished as 19. They use that as bargaining power to get more when their due a raise.

  15. This arbitrary ranking has nothing to do with offensive production. This has less to do with salary. This has everything to do with leadership qualities. Qualities that arent quantifiable from offensive or defensive metrics.

    Qualities that are nearly impossible to see as an average fan watching the game on tv.

  16. Goldenbladz-
    while I agree that Messier was a leader, and a great one (and the team had many)–99 was more of the leader than many give him credit for. It was hard at first as he was a skinny 155 pound kid, but he won them over and became the voice of that room.
    And this came right from 99’s dad.
    They were devastated when he left not just because he was the best player in the league.
    Messier truly took over when Gretzky left.

  17. “this arbitrary ranking” has everything to do w/ how people who have forgotten more about hockey than many here will ever know view the all-time great captains. point production has never been a requisite for wearing the “C.” many in Chicago would tell you the greatest captain in Hawks history before 19 was Maggie. Others point to Dirk Graham. Many still point to Chelios. In the case of all 3, the majority of their time as captain was more about what they brought to the room than it was about 30 goals; hell, Maggie scored 4 goals TOTAL while serving as captain of the Blackhawks.

    Nobody provided criteria that included “How much do they get paid?” or “Is he still in his prime?” This list is about legacy. People who take the opportunity to bitch about Toews’ cap hit on a list about his legacy in the game are completely missing the point.

  18. I find it very hard to believe Toews would be ahead of Gretsky, Lemieux, Crosby, Lidstrom and Potvin. Toews has never dominated the league at his position for any length of time. The HAWKS had 3cup wins with a very balanced team with great playoff runs.

  19. It’s arbitrary because it can’t be backed up by anything concrete. Offensive stats, stanley cups, olympic golds, personal accomplishments…none of that equates to leadership traits. Frankly, teams today far too often pick players to be a captain because of offensive numbers. Look at what Colorado did, removing the C from Hejduk and giving it to Landeskog (while Hejduk was still playing), just so Landeskog could be the youngest. Yet those same intangible traits are also invaluable when it comes to constructing a team. Some of the names on that list are only on that list because of their fame from their offensive prowess. Mags was forgotten about because he lacked the numbers and he’s from a bygone era.

    Is Derian Hatcher worthy of being on that list? Hell if I know. I wasn’t in that locker room.

  20. I have no problem with what Toews has done or brings to the team. His salary, like many others in the league is a bit high. I think Gretsky, Lemieux, Crosby, Lidstrom and Potvin are the complete package thus should be considered ahead of Toews. Now, Maggie bless his heart, was a nice soldier to have on your team, but to be named captain at that time was a stretch.
    Stan Makita!!!!

  21. Ogie made some weak comments. And he called mine “stupid.” What is stupid is implying that other players like it when an under performing player is getting over paid because it raises their salaries. When Toews sucks up $10.5 mil, it doesn’t raise his teammates’ salaries. It causes teammates to get traded because of the cap or other players to have to have to give discounts if they want to stay. I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing, but use some common sense and save the insults. In addition, Toews is playing like a $5 million dollar player (not an over paid $5 million dollar player as the examples you cite), so to say “He is worth what he is getting paid,” misses the point about as completely as it can be missed. Getting something doesn’t mean you are worth it. Right now his play is not worthy of his salary. If you want to believe the intangibles merit the salary and that his captaincy is worth additional millions over and above what his on ice performance is worth, that’s fine. There might be some merit to that, although in my example, I don’t believe his leadership is worth an extra $5.5 mil. If you think his play is worth $6 or $7 mil, then do the math on how much his leadership is worth. If his contract was ending this year, you will find very few people who believe he would be re-signed for $10.5 mil.

  22. This list/article has absolutely nothing to do with performance. A players worth is directly related to what someone is willing to pay said player. Pretty elementary.

  23. He may not get 10.5 but thats due to the cap not increasing like it was expected. If hes UFA he gets way closer to what hes getting paid currently than to what you think hes worth. Players arent worth something just cuz Bruce says so.

  24. Easy there Stanislav Gvoth Mikita!
    My kids tell me I am too old to be on internet because of my butter fingers and eyesight. Thus, no need to call anyone an idiot.
    Saw Stanley as Bobby calls him long ago! Amazing!
    By the way, Tom Lysiak was a great captain in Atlanta and Darryl Sutter in Chicago!!!
    PS: It would be nice to see what Carl Dahlstrom can dom a few games with the Hawks before he gets traded away to Pittsburgh for Ian Cole.

  25. Three comments on the list:
    [1] It is terrific for the NHL Network to recognize Pilote on this list. He doesn’t get anywhere near the acclaim he deserves – overall and especially from Blackhawks fans.

    [2] One name on the list that struck me is a guy from Detroit who also doesn’t get enough recognition: Ted Lindsay. He was a great player – even though I hated watching him on the Wings.

    [3] I believe the folks at NHL Network suffer from “recency bias” -In my opinion, Jean Beliveau should be #1 on the list rather than Messier (just switch positions on the list). Beliveau won 10 cups as a player, 5 of those cups he was captain, amid 10 years as captain. I admit that I could be letting his off ice accomplishments (such as 7 more cups as an executive) affect my thoughts, but for me Beliveau is the best captain.
    —-
    Why does every comment string need to have bashing of Toews and/or his salary, regardless of the overall topic?

  26. Toews
    top 3 defensive FW
    more awards and better alltime record in olympics
    faceoffs
    better captain

    Crosby
    top 3 offensive FW
    goals
    points

    Theres a reason why who avoided playing who head to head 7 times in 10 yrs or something.

    Crosby wouldnt beat the likes of LA or BOS teams of those yrs. Toews did.

    Plus doesnt Crosby dive a lot.

  27. A list this silly deserves some serious edits… best 10 ALL TIME Captains in order;

    1. Captain Morgan
    2. Captain America
    3. Captain Obvious
    4. Captain Crunch
    5. Captain Hook
    6. Captain Kirk
    7. Captain Caveman
    8. Captain Underpants
    9. Captain Kangeroo
    10. Captain Planet

  28. uncle bill i would leave messier at number 1, he would beat you with his bruising style of play [ elbows ] and his scoring. when the oilers beat the isles first time who was more valuable mess or gretz . how many cups would le gros bill have won if the canadiens didnt have first pick of any players coming out of quebec, maybe 3 same with the pocket rocket, and others, the last player the habs got coming out of quebec was guy lafleur the flying frenchmen not

  29. TERRIBLE TED lindsay. how he cannot be on the list is crazy. when he was trying to organize a players assoc. and he wanted Howes support Gordie choked, the next year lindsay was traded to chicago

  30. Ted Lindsay is number 18 on the list…

    Horration Mccalister…better known as the Sea Captain on the Simpsons deserves an honorable mention

  31. first pick of any players coming out of quebec

    What is that. How many yrs did that go on. Makes maybe first 50 yrs of hockey championships skewed.

    Would love to see who won how may times in the first 50 yrs with a salary cap.

  32. I would expect Messier himself to rank Jean Beliveau #1 on this list. Among all the stories about Beliveau and the quality of his leadership, there is one that stands out. After the quite rare occurrence of missing the playoffs in 1969-70 the Habs were in temporary disarray when they brought in Al McNiel as coach the following year. McNiel was no Toe Blake or Scotty Bowman. He alienated several players and much of the Montreal faithful and cut the ice time of veteran Henri Richard. Things came to a heated exchange on the bench during the playoffs when the fiery Richard cursed out McNiel during the game. Only Jean Beliveau, by reaching over and putting his hand on Henri’s shoulder, could immediately quite Richard. And this was done without a word said.

  33. Pierre Pilote was a great, great captain!

    Dale Dawerchuk as well, Brian Sutter or Trottier!!!

    Btw, Crosby basically missed two seasons of hockey because of concussions especially that year he was leading the league in scoring before the Winter Classic elbow he received. Great captain. Toews great as well but not 7th all time.

  34. Game winning goals by Crosby twice during 2010 & 2014 Olympics make him the best leader in NHL. Especially last year’s cup playing alomngside two Ahl players.

    I thought Hartman was finally coming around playing his natural wing with Hinostroza and Sharp. Tonight, to make room for Panik, they put him on left wing? Odd? Last year, Panik had a good season playing left wing (shoots left) with Toews and Hossa. These are little details that kind derail chemistry.

  35. And Toews could get away being a great leader which he is when the team was loaded and he averaged 60-70 points. But, with everyone gone with our average talent level today, then if his stats remain at 55 or 65 points, it does not help the team get over the hump. But if he carries the team and boosts his stats that makes him a great leader again as well. Just a thought.

  36. Tonight’s reality is simple in DALLAS. Osterle, Forsling, Kempny, Murphy (add Rutta & Franson) would never crack the STARS lineup at the blueline. Thus, this falls on the poor drafting and development by our GM the last 4-5-6 years. The same can be said when we are forced to watch Panik, Wingels, Bouma, and Hayden every night at the forward position. Ugly!

  37. Our talent pool is low thus it would be wise to make real changes which hopefully will happen after the HAWKS are out of the playoffs. This team cannot rival the top teams in the west. So, recharge the franchise by firing the GM and his scouting staff. Inject some talent in our farm system by getting a higher draft pick. And maybe letting Coach Q go elsewhere unless he wants to be part of the rebuild.

  38. Poor Murphy, unable to keep his balance and skate. Very embarassing to watch him play defence. Where is our beloved HAMMER!!!
    Let’s give Dahlstrom a chance.

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