ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 19: David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues and Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks keep their eyes on the puck after a face off in Game Two of the First Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 19, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is constantly being pointed toward as a leader both on and off the ice for the Hawks, and apparently certain NHL legends are paying attention.
That’s because Toews has been announced as one of three nominees for the Mark Messier Leadership Award. Given to “an individual (recognized) as a superior leader within their sport, and as a contributing member of society,” it’s been handed out since the 2006-07 season. Chris Chelios won the first award that season, and since then it’s gone to some of the league’s top captains, including Jarome Iginla, Sidney Crosby, and Zdeno Chara.
This season, Toews will have some stiff competition for the award. Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is one of the nominees, as he had a Hart Trophy-caliber season in leading the Ducks to the top overall seed in the Western Conference. He will also be joined by the other captain in the Los Angeles area, as Kings captain Dustin Brown was also nominated for the award.
The 28 goals and 40 assists that Toews racked up during the regular season prove that he is a valuable member of the Blackhawks, but his performance in other areas hammers home the point even more forcefully. Winning 57.2% of his face-offs, Toews was key to the Hawks executing their puck possession strategy, and his stingy defense (which helped him be nominated for yet another Selke Award for defensive forwards) is yet another factor in his nomination for the Messier.
The winner of the award will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 24th.