Toews is looking to produce more offense, regardless of linemates


Jonathan Toews, one of the best two-way centers in the game, is so much more than a scorer. But after registering just 58 points in 80 games last season, make no mistake, he’s aiming for more production in 2016-17.

“I think I have to just look at myself and take responsibility for that,” he said Friday, per The Athletic. “I think this year, regardless of who I’m playing with, whether it’s [Marian Hossa] or anybody else, I think the two of us will definitely want to have a comeback year and just have fun and play with some excitement and play loose and let that offense come to us the way it didn’t quite last year. I think we were fighting it a little bit for a while there.”

It’s arguably the biggest question the Blackhawks are facing this season — who will play with Toews? One has to assume that head coach Joel Quenneville will keep Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin together. And 37-year-old Hossa may be best-suited for a third-line role now.

Richard Panik is a candidate for the left side; the ‘Hawks are very high on him. As for the right, if it’s not Hossa, a youngster like Nick Schmaltz or Vince Hinostroza could get a shot.

It will be worth watching, because if nothing clicks then GM Stan Bowman may be forced to act before the trade deadline.

In 2015-16, Toews spent most of his time at five-on-five with Hossa. His next three most common linemates were Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrew Ladd, all no longer with the ‘Hawks.

Related: Opportunity is knocking for Blackhawks prospects