CHICAGO — One of the icons of the Blackhawks, who captained the greatest on-ice era in franchise history, will go a different direction with the rest of his career.

After 16 years with the team, Jonathan Toews will not be re-signed by the Blackhawks when his current contract expires at the end of the 2022-2023 season.

It’s a sad moment for the player, franchise, and especially the fans, who bid farewell to one of the greatest to don the team’s iconic sweater. Toews played for the Blackhawks for 15 seasons, made ten playoff appearances, and won three Stanley Cups as the well-respected captain of the team.

Thursday’s regular season finale against the Flyers at the United Center will be his 1,067th and last game of his time in Chicago as he’s scored 371 goals and 511 assists in those contests. In 137 playoff games, he netted 45 goals and 74 assists, a few that helped the team to those three championships.

Here’s a look at Toews’ long and successful career with the Blackhawks, starting with the moment he joined the organization.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A standout at North Dakota, the Blackhawks selected Toews with the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft as the team made their first major move to restore a franchise that was on the outside looking in at the playoffs the majority of the last decade.

The center would join the team in the 2007-2008 season along with Patrick Kane, who was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft.

Toews’ debut was a sign of things to come as he scored a goal in his first Blackhawks’ game against the Sharks at the United Center on October 10. 2007. He would open his NHL career with a point in each of his first his first ten games as he was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Over the next two years, Toews along with the Blackhawks would elevate themselves to the top of the NHL, starting with the breakthrough 2008-2009 season.

With 104 points, their most since 1990-1991, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2002 with Toews scoring 34 goals with 35 assists. He was also named to the NHL’s All-Star team for the first time along with Kane, the first of six elections to the mid-season classic.

The Blackhawks would advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1995, where they were defeated by a veteran Red Wings team in five games.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In 2009-2010, Toews and the Blackhawks would make history, with the captain playing a big part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After earning a team-record 112 points in the regular season, the Toews had seven goals and 22 assists in 16 playoff victories, including a helper in Game 6 against the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final in Philadelphia on June 9, 2010.

Kane’s overtime goal gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory, ending the team’s 49-year championship drought, with Toews having the honor of accepting the iconic Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With salary cap issues forcing the Blackhawks to reshape their roster, the team didn’t advance out of the first round for the next two seasons. Toews had 76 points in 2010-2011, the second-most of his career, before dealing with injuries in 2011-2012 as he played in 57 games.

He like the Blackhawks enjoyed a strong lockout-shortened 2013 season, earning an NHL-leading 77 points while Toews had 23 goals and 25 assists in 47 of the 48 games the team played that year.

He had three goals and 11 assists in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and played a big role in the famous Game 6 of the Final against the Bruins on June 24, 2013. He scored a goal and had the assist on Bryan Bickell’s game-tying goal late in the third period, the first score in the famous two the Blackhawks got in 17 seconds to grab the lead at TD Garden.

Toews sealed the Stanley Cup-clinching 3-2 win over the Bruins by knocking a loose puck toward the other end of the ice, away from a few Bruins players, as time expired. Once again, the captain received the trophy, the fifth in Blackhawks’ history at that point, from Commissioner Bettman.

For his efforts that season, Toews was named the Frank J. Selke Trophy winner for the NHL’s best defensive forward.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As the Blackhawks remained near the top of the NHL, Toews remained in top form over the next two seasons, equaling his career-high point total of 68 in 76 games in 2013-2014 before getting 67 in the 2014-2015 campaign.

Once again, the captain was strong in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the latter season, scoring a personal-best ten playoff goals with 11 assists in 2015. On June 15 of that year, Toews raised a third Stanley Cup in his career, and his first in front of the United Center fans, after a 2-0 win over the Lightning in Game 6 of the Final.

After that season, Toews was awarded the Mark Messier Leadership Award, given to an NHL player who provides positive support for teammates and contributions to the community.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

After the third Stanley Cup title, the Blackhawks remained toward the top of the NHL standings the next two seasons but saw their success in the playoffs begin to fade.

Toews had 58 points in both the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 campaigns, but the Blackhawks couldn’t make it out of the first round either season. In the latter campaign, the Blackhawks had a Western Conference-best 109 points but were swept out of the first round by the Nashville Predators.

In 2017, Toews was named one of the NHL’s Top 100 players of all time in conjunction with the league’s 100th anniversary.

After the Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the first time in 2018, the captain would have his most productive season in the NHL the following year. In 2018-2019, Toews had career-highs in goals (35) and assists (46), yet the team would miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs again, with longtime head coach Joel Quenneville begin fired early in the season.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic paused the NHL’s season in March 2020, Toews and the Blackhawks were likely going to be on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But with an expansion of the postseason field in the Edmonton “Bubble,” the team was able to earn the 12th and final spot, which meant a play-in series with the fifth-seeded Oilers.

Toews would rediscover some of his postseason magic as he scored five goals with four assists in nine games, helping the Blackhawks upset Edmonton in the preliminary round to advance to the traditional Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They were eliminated by the top-seeded Golden Knights in five games in the first round, with Toews playing his final postseason game for the Blackhawks on August 18, 2020.

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

For the first time in his NHL career, Toews would miss a full season of play in 2021, which was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, because of chronic immune response syndrome.

When he returned for training camp in the fall of that year, the Blackhawks’ dynasty that he played a big part in was on its last legs. Early in the 2021-2022 season came the revelations in the Jenner and Block report of sexual assault allegations by Kyle Beach against then-Blackhawks video coach Kyle Aldrich back in 2010.

That led to the resignation of general manager Stan Bowman, who had tried one more time to keep prevent a full rebuild that offseason with the trades for defenseman Seth Jones and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

With criticism over the handling of the Beach allegations leading to a reckoning within the organization along with the hiring of Kyle Davidson as general manager, a rebuild was started.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Toews did have one milestone that season, as he played in his 1,000 NHL game with the Blackhawks against the Panthers in Sunrise, Florida on March 31, 2022.

He was honored for the accomplishment during a pre-game ceremony at the United Center on April 3 before the team faced the Arizona Coyotes.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Toews’ final season with the Blackhawks came in the midst of a full rebuild, with the Blackhawks being at or near the bottom of the NHL all season long.

With a flare-up of his chronic immune response syndrome along with long COVID, Toews missed the better part of two months early in the 2023 calendar year. Toews has been able to return for the last few weeks of the season, taking the ice for 52 games with 14 goals and 16 assists.

He’ll end his memorable tenure with one more game with the Blackhawks on Thursday night at the United Center against the Flyers – and what a journey it has been.