"Clearing The Deck": Blackhawks GM Reveals Why It's Time For Toews To Move On

It's certainly the end of an era in the Windy City. The hockey world has been buzzing about Jonathan Toews' impending exit from the Chicago Blackhawks after tonight's season finale. 

Now Hawks GM Kyle Davidson has opened up about why he's so keen to move on from the three-time Stanley Cup champ. 

I don't know if it's necessarily putting the past behind us... It's moreso clearing the deck to some extent to allow the organic growth for young players into leadership roles and offer this new era of Blackhawks players the same opportunity that Toews, (Patrick) Kane, [Duncan] Keith, [Brent] Seabrook were all offered when they came into the league.

Expanding on that line of thinking, Davidson says as long as those grizzled veterans like Toews and Kane were around, it was sort of stifling the growth of young players into their own new leadership roles. 

When there's a player like Jonathan or Patrick in your locker room, you defer to them. You just let them handle the leadership and there's not a lot of development opportunity there. So now we believe that it was something that is beneficial for this next group to allow leaders to emerge, and form that relationship with Luke [Richardson], form that relationship with myself. In the locker room, be the voice rather than deferring to someone who's been here for so long. It gives them an opportunity to step up and be the new leadership group of the franchise.

After a run like the Blackhawks have had with the old group, and the fact that they're now going through a painful rebuild, Davidson understands that fans might be upset, and he gets it. 

"It’s just one of those things that, in the situation we’re in, these tough decisions have to be made. And this is just another one of those. I get the potential disappointment because they’re legends. They’ve done so much for the city, so much for the organization and brought so much success that’s only natural. But we’ve got to do what we think is best for the growth of the team and this was something that we thought was best for them."

Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports