Jonathan Toews focused on 'soaking in every moment' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Patrick Kane's name circulated in the rumor mill over the summer, and it's only natural for that to happen with the Blackhawks embarking on a full-blown rebuild and him going into the final year of his contract.
Jonathan Toews is in the same boat. He's been the captain of the Blackhawks forever and will go down as one of the franchise's all-time greats, but you have to wonder what the future holds for him as well as he enters the last year of his deal.
Like Kane, Toews acknowledged that there hasn't really been much discussion between him and the team about his future and what may or may not happen this season on the trade front.
"I don’t think anything’s gotten to that point or even close to it over the summer," Toews said on Thursday. "I think it will for quite some time this season. I was talking with my family and my agent and the thought for myself personally has always been to kind of keep trudging forward and getting better.
"As I’ve mentioned numerous times the last year — and it sounds like a broken record — but I'm working through a lot of stuff, trying to get healthy and feel better and play at the pace and the ability that I know I can. So I think this summer’s been about that too and I think it’s just one thing at a time.
"A lot of people are wondering and love to speculate and see what’s going to happen, but I’m coming in here just fully excited to play hockey and not have any expectations, not be too concerned with what happens for me down the road this season or even beyond that."
Toews was asked whether he's wrestled with the idea of going somewhere else to try winning a Stanley Cup or wanting to be the captain of the Blackhawks for the rest of his career, but he admitted: "I don’t know if I’m looking at it that way."
"I’m very proud of the job that I’ve done over the years," Toews continued. "Obviously I’ve had some incredible support from teammates and coaches and some great leaders that have come through our locker room that I’ve learned from, that I’ve really fed off. And ultimately, you get a lot of the credit when you’re wearing the 'C' on your jersey either way. It doesn’t mean you’re perfect or that you don’t make mistakes, but looking back, I’m really proud of how much I've put in to fulfilling that role.
"Some days it does feel like a lot, but at the same time, that’s the blessing. I think a lot is asked of you and, in that sense, you learn a lot about yourself and what it takes to be a leader. So I’m thankful for all that and I’ll keep enjoying that, doing that and fulfilling that role as best I can.
"And to the other part of your question, I don’t really know. We’ll see. Obviously it would be fun to be on a winning team and live that dream again, but I'm not letting my mind get there now."
On Day 1 of training camp, Toews was smiling, upbeat and looked to genuinely be enjoying being around the guys and back on the ice as he prepares for Year 16. And given the certainty around his future with an organization that drafted him No. 3 overall in 2006, it appears that's the kind of mindset he wants to have this season, no matter what happens.
"I know it’s kind of a boring story to write about right now but I’m just focusing on one day at a time and doing my job, not only as a player or as a captain, but just really enjoying being here, being a Blackhawk, being a part of this organization and really soaking in every moment," Toews said. "I think if I do that, my game will come forward and speak for itself. That’s really all I have to worry about right now and not much more than that. So I’m going to enjoy it and have fun."