Roenick: Toews could be MVP

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Roenick: Toews could be MVP

The praise and compliments for Jonathan Toews continue to pour in. This time, it was former Hawks great Jeremy Roenick with strong compliments about the Blackhawks captain.

"Jonathan Toews is one of the best captains in all of sports... right now he could be, arguably, the MVP of the National Hockey league," Roenick said Friday on Chicago Tribune Live. "It's not so much his talent -- his raw talent is fantastic -- but his mentality, his grit and his dedication to the game and his dedication to his team. He's a captain in all senses of the word."

Toews is enjoying the best start of his career, with 17 goals and 15 assists (32 points) in 29 games. The 23-year-old has scored 12 goals in his last 14 games.

Roenick feels Toews felt extra-motivated after the Hawks' disappointing 2010-11 season and believes the team could accomplish special things once again if teammates follow Toews' lead.

"I think he was embarrassed with what happened last year after they won the Cup, the season that they went through," Roenick went on to say. "Coming back this year, he's focused, he's in great shape and he's elevating his game and because he elevates his game everybody on the team has to elevate their game. If he continues to do that, this team is going to be very difficult to beat because of their captain."

What does Roenick think about NHL realignment? Watch the video to find out and let us know if you agree with his assessment of Toews by leaving a comment below.

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.