It was a strong storyline to start the season but disappeared as the season went on. 

Jonathan Toews missing the season with an undisclosed illness. 

We didn't hear from Toews throughout the season besides his message to Andrew Shaw after Shaw announced his retirement. 

Without their captain, the Blackhawks had what some label a successful season considering they're in "rebuild" mode. 

One player spoke with Scott Powers of The Athletic anonymously and says the Hawks' might have been better off without Toews this season. 

“I hate even having this thought,” the source said. “But I’ve been thinking it all year.”

“Nobody’s dumb enough to say that (the Blackhawks) were better off without Jonathan Toews,” the source said. “Of course, you’d rather have Jonathan Toews around. Great player, great leader, everything people say he is.”

“It’s probably helped not having him there questioning things, or having an issue with the system and all that stuff as the guys bought in,” the source said. 

“I’m not saying they wouldn’t have been able to get everybody to buy in with him, but I think it might have taken a little longer,” the team source said. “Maybe you would have kept treading water with him, that tug-of-war back-and-forth where there are some guys that are half in, half out. It might have been another season where we don’t know what the hell we had and it looked like a terrible product. But with him not there, it probably bought Jeremy another season or two to see what he could do with an improved roster. And next year, in a perfect world, (Toews) comes in and sees what everybody’s been doing and buys in and is an even more useful player because of it. It sounds crazy, I know. But it could be for the best for everybody.”

What do you think of these comments?

Is there big beef between Jeremy Colliton and Toews?


Source: Scott Powers The Athletic