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NHL Notebook: Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews unlikely to resume NHL career, Bakersfield Condors defenceman Yanni Kaldis signs in KHL, and more

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Photo credit:David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
9 months ago
Jonathan Toews’ NHL career appears like it could be coming to a close.
Toews, 35, entered this offseason as a free agent as his eight-year, $10.5-million AAV deal inked in 2014 winded down this past season. It was a tough one at that for the veteran forward who played in just 53 games while battling long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome.
Rumours have swirled over the last year about a possible connection between Toews and the Edmonton Oilers after his former teammate in Chicago, Duncan Keith, played the final season of his career in the City of Champions. Leading up to the trade deadline, many had pondered about the Oilers acquiring Toews, and those sentiments carried into the offseason.
But according to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, when the agency that represents Toews, CAA, submitted their list of pending free agents, the center’s name wasn’t even on the list. As noted by Spector, the word is that Toews won’t play next season, and his name not being included on the free agent list is a further signal of that.
Drafted third overall out of the NCAA’s University of North Dakota, Toews returned to school the following year and was given a chance to dominate at the World Juniors, something he did en route to the gold medal. He broke into the NHL as a rookie in 2007-08 scoring 54 points in 64 games donning an ‘A’ on his chest, only for it to be replaced by a ‘C’ the following season.
The longest-serving captain in Chicago’s storied 96-year history, Toews’ surefire Hall of Fame career saw him help lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup title in 2010 — breaking a 48-year drought, the fourth longest in NHL history — as well as two more titles in the following five seasons.

THE NHL NOTEBOOK IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY

Kaldis to the K

A member of the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate Bakersfield Condors has signed in the KHL.
Defenceman Yanni Kaldis, who has played parts of the last three seasons in southern California, will don Dynamo Minsk’s jersey after signing there this week.
Kaldis, 27, joined the Condors when the 2020-21 hockey season picked back up. He previously played for Cornell University in the NCAA, and had spent the first part of that season with Austria’s Dornbirner EC.
Over the last two and a half seasons, Kaldis appeared in 132 games for the Condors scoring 13 goals and 64 points.

Miller re-signs in New York

The New York Rangers have signed defenceman K’Andre Miller to a two-year contract extension paying him an AAV of $3.872-million.
Drafted 22nd overall in the 2018 draft, Miller is coming off a breakout season with the Rangers that saw him score nine goals, 34 assists and 43 points in 79 games, while averaging 21:57 minutes per night. All numbers, beyond his games played mark, were career highs for the 23 year old.

Top goalies left in free agency

As the free agent market gets drier and drier, there’s still more than enough players looking for new hockey homes for next season and potentially beyond.
Among the goaltenders remaining, Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis highlighted five of the top players left. Here are two of them:
Martin Jones, 33
AFP Projection: One Year, $1,723,440
Let’s be real: even though he had one of his best seasons in a while last year in Seattle, Jones’ overall numbers the past few years have been rough. Of goalies with at least 70 games played over the past three years, Jones’ .906 save percentage at 5-on-5 is 47th out of 50, and his minus-25.08 goals saved above average is the second worst. Granted, Philipp Grubauer, Jones’ goalie partner, is right near the bottom with him, but it’s still ugly. There’s still the concern of “needing to score five to offset four” with Jones.
Jones is far from a starter these days, but after recording a 27-13-3 record with three shutouts last year, he can still perform. He’s also younger than most other available options, which helps. Jones was bought out in 2021 before signing a pair of $2 million, one-year deals with Philadelphia and Seattle over the past two years. At this rate, somewhere in the $1.5-1.7 million range would make sense.
Jaroslav Halak, 38
AFP Projection: One Year, $1,104,983
His glory days with Montreal and St. Louis are long past gone, but he has made a career out of being a solid backup. But even those days are fleeting, and at 38, he might have just another year left in the tank. Halak hasn’t had a save percentage above .905 since his second year in Boston in 2019-20 but is a decent stopgap who can play around 20 games and typically win more than he loses. If you’ve got a powerhouse No. 1, that’s all you can ask for.
Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, confirmed late last month that the veteran plans to keep going. He’s sitting at 295 career wins, and he could become the fifth active goaltender to break the 300-win mark quite quickly on a competitive team. Not too shabby for a ninth-round pick.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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