There were only six active players to make the NHL’s Top 100 that was unveiled on Friday night in Los Angeles. Half of those active players — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — have been members of the Chicago Blackhawks for the better part of the past decade and have been core members of a franchise that has won three Stanley Cups in the past seven years.
Toews, the captain of the team for the past nine years and for all three of the recent championships, was quick to give a lot of the credit to his teammates for being included in the group.
“It tells me I have been a part of some really good teams and I owe a lot to my teammates to be recognized in this fashion,” said Toews on Friday night in Los Angeles. “It’s incredible, it’s just surreal for me.”
That him and two of his teammates (the only team with more than one active player on the list) were included is just another example as to how successful the Blackhawks have been in recent years. The one constant for them during this stretch has been a core of players that has been kept together at all costs, no matter how much cap space they account for or how much they have to trim elsewhere on the roster. That core has largely been made up of Toews, Kane, Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford, with the first three being the players really driving the success.
Since the trio of Toews, Kane and Keith started playing together at the beginning of the 2007-08 season the Blackhawks have won 434 games (fourth most in the NHL), reached the Conference Finals five times (most in the NHL during that stretch), the Stanley Cup Final three times (tied for the most with Pittsburgh) and won it all three times (most in the NHL).
That success as a team is a big reason why three of the six active players on the Top 100 list are all Blackhawks.
“I think that’s the only way you have team success nowadays is if you have a core group of guys like that, that are I guess at this level in some ways, and you put three guys on here tonight that are truly special players to be a part of those winning teams. I think the three of us are pretty honored to representing our team success that we have been a part of these past six years.”