Central

Jonathan Toews is King of 2006 Draft Class

Jonathan Toews is King of 2006 Draft Class
Andy Dudones

Jonathan Toews isn’t underrated. The two-time Stanley Cup-winning captain gets plenty of praise, both in and out of the Windy City. But in the absence of Patrick Kane, the 26-year-old center is proving yet again just how valuable he truly is to the Blackhawks – as if we didn’t already know.

 

Comparing the 2006 Draft Class

Although the Blackhawks hit the jackpot with Toews in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, there was plenty of talent to choose from. The Pittsburgh Penguins may have served up a gaffe by selecting Jordan Staal second overall, but even he aided the Pens in bringing the Steel City a Stanley Cup in 2009.

While Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom leads the draft class with 566 points in 568 games, the group now boasts three different 500-point scorers as of last Monday. Toews’ assist in Chicago’s 3-1 win over Carolina was number 282 of his career, which thrusted the former Selke Trophy winner to the 500 point threshold in his eighth season.

Toews, who was drafted third overall in the 2006 NHL Draft, is considered by many to be one of the best leaders in hockey today. From his shootout heroics at the World Juniors in 2007 to winning two Olympic gold medals to being the captain of two Stanley Cup winners, he shines in the spotlight. When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 for the first time in almost 50 years, it was Toews who took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. — TSN Staff

Player Drafted By Selection Goals Assists Points
Nickas Backstrom Washington 4 145 421 566
Phil Kessel Boston 5 246 267 513
Jonathan Toews Chicago 3 218 282 500
Claude Giroux Philadelphia 22 140 304 444
Bryan Little Atlanta 12 146 196 342
Milan Lucic Boston 50 136 202 338
Jordan Staal Pittsburgh 2 149 188 337
Kyle Okposo NY Islanders 7 114 186 300

Statistically speaking, a number of the draft class’ members make concrete arguments for being considered the best. Backstrom leads the field in overall points, while Toronto’s Phil Kessel has gone onto score the most goals. Even Claude Giroux, a steal at 22, leads the NHL in points since 2011 with 370.

When it comes to Toews, however, it’s the former Conn Smyth-winner’s all around game, as well as his intangibles, that sets him apart.

“He’s been recognized more for his defensive side, his leadership side, things like that,” defenseman Brent Seabrook told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times. “But he leads us offensively, too. We jump on his back every night.”

While Toews has blossomed in every phase of the game, including two-way skill and leadership, just how well does the Blackhawks captain matchup against the group’s top scorers from an analytical perspective?

  • First in even-strength points (305)
  • First in shorthanded points (21)
  • First in game-winning goals (Tied with Phil Kessel – 40)
  • First in five-on-five primary assists (108)
  • First in five-on-five SAT percentage (56.95 percent)
  • First in five-on-five relative shots for percentage (3.65 percent)
  • First in relative scoring chances for percentage (4.92 percent)
  • First in faceoff winning percentage (55.27 percent)
  • First in even-strength time on ice competition percentage (18.03 percent)
  • First in Penalty Differential (plus-65)
    (*Stats compiled through Mar. 24, 2015.)

Although Toews has enjoyed the luxury of being surrounded with a terrific cast – tied with Backstrom for overall quality of teammates at 18.92 percent – the two-time Stanley Cup winner has thrived ahead of the rest.

The numbers above are quite telling. Especially since they’re far from padded.

 

Johnny Clutch

Despite a 343 point differential between Toews and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, the clutch play of Chicago’s Captain Serious has resulted in some considering him to be the best player in the league. And while the debate/discussion between the two isn’t likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, Toews’ has earned every bit of his praise.

Unlike Toews, Crosby’s dominance increases on the power play. In the past three seasons, Crosby has 75 points on the power play, ranking fourth in the NHL. Going further back, Crosby has 309 power-play points since coming into the league, trailing only Alex Ovechkin by 20 points in 124 fewer games. His offense-heavy approach with reliance on the power play is a stark contrast to Toews’ controlling play in 5-on-5 ice time. — ESPN Stats & Info

Although the comparisons between the two captains are engaging, Toews’ knack for crunch time isn’t lifted by it. Despite acquiring a reputation for fading in the playoffs, Crosby’s 114 career playoff points are 33 more than Toews’ 81, in only one additional game to boot.

On the other hand, Chicago’s captain has developed the stature of a playoff hero, and rightfully so, notching four of his 10 career game-winning goals in the post-season last year.

“He’s special,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said last year to NHL.com’s Shawn Roarke. “I think his work ethic is contagious. We’ve got to make sure we all look to play as hard as he does.”

Through 73 games this season, Toews ranks second in team points with 60, while sitting eight points shy of matching the 68 points he produced from a season ago. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has reached 20 or more goals in all eight of his NHL seasons, and has now scored 40 game-winning goals, good enough for third in franchise history.

Only two players have scored more game-winning goals in the Indian head than Toews (40): Steve Larmer (49) and Denis Savard (46). Chicago’s captain has scored 81 points in 91 career postseason games, and his 10 career postseason game-winning goals is the benchmark in franchise history. — Tab Bamford, Committed Indians

Even with Patrick Kane out of the lineup since Feb. 24, Toews has picked up his scoring, notching five goals and six assists, while leading the Hawks to an 8-2-1 record. That’s not really out of the ordinary, considering Toews’ 117 career points in 132 games in the months of March and April combined.

“I’ve been looking to score more all season,” said Toews via Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. “With Kaner gone that definitely adds to it, but even if he was in the lineup I’d still be looking for more production out of myself. In that regard it hasn’t been an easy year.

“I’ve been talking about looking for a breakout all season. At this point, the games are just getting tough, so you have to go out there and fight for every bounce and every scoring chance you get.”

Yes, we know. Jonathan Toews is great. He says the right things, while adding to his trophy collection on an annual basis. The even-keeled captain is widely documented, but it’s justified.

Point totals be damned, Toews is the King of the 2006 draft.

Central
Andy Dudones
@ADudones

Andy is a Fanrag Sports and Today’s Slapshot contributor, covering the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division and the Western Conference’s Central Division. He also covers the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. Andy holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Walsh University. He is married with a daughter. In his spare time, Andy enjoys golfing and hanging around family and close friends.

More in Central

Predators

Predators Will Win the Central Division Crown

Pavel KofmanMarch 29, 2015
NHL: SEP 23 Preseason - Predators at Lightning

Predators Have Deep Forward Prospect Pool

Mark HarrisMarch 28, 2015

Byfuglien’s Return the Last Push the Jets Needed

Luke LapinskiMarch 28, 2015
NHL: JAN 20 Wild at Red Wings

NHL Central Power Rankings: Wild On Top

Mark HarrisMarch 26, 2015
NHL: JAN 15 Red Wings at Blues

How Kevin Shattenkirk’s Return Boosts Blues’ Blue Line

Pavel KofmanMarch 26, 2015
NHL: SEP 29 Preseason - Blue Jackets at Predators

Kevin Fiala: Checking in With the Rookie

Cat SilvermanMarch 25, 2015
NHL: JAN 18 Stars at Blackhawks

Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn or Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews

Mark HarrisMarch 25, 2015
NHL: FEB 12 Jets at Predators

Predators’ Schedule Gives Them Edge Over Blues

Mark HarrisMarch 24, 2015
NHL: MAR 10 Devils at Wild

Breaking Down the Goalie Depth of Every Central Club

Luke LapinskiMarch 24, 2015

YOUR HOCKEY YOUR WAY, BE SEEN BE HEARD BE A SLAPSHOT FAN TODAY! PART OF THE FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK

Slapshot on Facebook

Slapshot On Twitter

Copyright © 2014 Today’s Slapshot, All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Use/Privacy | Copyright | Site Map | About Us | Authors | Contact Us