Patrick Kane called it “crushing.”
Jonathan Toews expressed “anger.”
But neither fixture of the Chicago Blackhawks said that the draft-week trades of Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach last season — or any other major changes stemming from the team’s rebuild — led them to request a trade over the summer.
“To be honest, there hasn’t been much discussion about anything, even with my agent or my parents or my family,” Kane said on the first day of training camp practice Thursday at Fifth Third Arena.
Toews, who also talked with his agent — Kane and Toews are both Pat Brisson clients — and family, added: “I don’t think anything’s gotten to that point or even close to it over the summer.”
“A lot of people are wondering and love to speculate and see what’s going to happen,” Toews, 34/ said. “I’m coming in here just fully excited to play hockey and not have any expectation, not be too concerned with what happens for me down the road this season or even beyond that.”
Events since November likely fueled speculation that Kane or Toews would welcome a trade.
•The Hawks got off to a franchise-worst start and fired coach Jeremy Colliton, paving the way for a rebuild.
•Several veteran players last season — including Kane, Toews and DeBrincat — expressed belief in a faster turnaround than the timeline general manager Kyle Davidson envisioned.
— The Hawks traded Brandon Hagel, the first domino to fall in the rebuild.
•The Hawks traded DeBrincat and Dach in packages that netted first-rounders Kevin Korchinski, an offensive defenseman, and Frank Nazar, a speedy winger, second-round forward Paul Ludwinski and third-round forward Gavin Hayes.
“No doubt a little bit of shock, a little bit of anger,” Toews said. “We all felt something was coming, and part of me was a little bit disappointed because you see those guys every day, you know the type of people they are, you know what they bring in the locker room, you know what they do on the ice, and it goes far beyond goals and assists.
“You see a guy like Alex or Kirby get traded away, it’s hard, it’s disappointing. And all of a sudden, you get a draft pick and it’s someone you don’t know and will take years to prove what they’ve got.”
Toews added that Dach, now with the Montreal Canadiens, still has a lot of upside and “maybe didn’t ever get his fair shot here in Chicago.”
When Kane learned about DeBrincat’s trade, he thought, “That’s disappointing.”
“And it was kind of crushing at first when you hear the news because, not only did I feel we had some great chemistry on the ice but he was one of my best friends and closest teammates off the ice,” Kane, 33, said. “Yeah, it was tough but I think he’s a guy who’s going to develop into a great player, better than he already is.
“He’s in a good situation in Ottawa.”
DeBrincat was Kane’s linemate, just as Artemi Panarin was when then-general manager Stan Bowman traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in June 2017.
With the DeBrincat and Dach trades — and the earlier announcement of a yearslong rebuild — came speculation that the Hawks would persuade Toews and Kane to waive their no-movement clauses and aggressively shop them — or at least teams would be inquiring about Kane.
He ranked seventh in assists (66) and 14th in points (92) last season.
Davidson on Wednesday downplayed questions about teams putting out feelers for either player’s availability.
“As far as any player movement ... we’re not anywhere near that point,” Davidson said.
Said Kane: “Maybe it’s getting attention because of the situation that people might think we’re in as a team or because of our contracts. It’s just a lot of noise right now. …
“Just a lot of noise and a lot of rumors. I don’t think there was too much to anything.”
Kane said he won’t have any trouble blocking out chatter if they persist leading up to the trade deadline.
Added Toews: “I’m not going to try to hype anything up and I’m not trying to kill any ideas either. But that’s just the truth.
“I know it’s kind of a boring story to write about right now but I’m just focusing on one day at a time and doing my job, not only as a player or as a captain, but just really enjoying being here, being a Blackhawk, being a part of this organization and really soaking in every moment. …
“That’s really all I have to worry about right now.”
Toews, however, in recent months has openly bristled at the front office’s personnel moves and questioned whether it has sacrificed competitiveness for the sake of stockpiling picks and prospects.
Kane had been less direct but publicly campaigned to keep core players such as DeBrincat.
So are they buying into the Hawks as currently constituted?
“I’ve definitely come around talking to Kyle and learning to understand what their job is,” Toews said. “And they have their work cut out for them and they have a plan to rebuild this team and to start with new pieces on the blue line and down the middle.
“You’ve got to respect them because they know what they’re doing. And it is what it is. It’s been part of the game, and I’ve dealt with that before.”
Kane said he sat down with Davidson and assistant GM Norm Maciver after the draft and discussed where the Hawks stand.
“They brought me up to speed with everything and (I) asked them questions,” he said. “They bounced some things off me. That was about it.”
Toews also had “very good conversations” with Davidson and Maciver — as well as new coach Luke Richardson — over the summer.
“Luke has been nothing but an open book since he’s come in here,” Toews said. “It always changes, the landscape is always different, your team is always in a different spot. …
“The league is changing. As the game gets better, you’ve got to keep adapting and finding ways to be better.”
Richardson said he wants to keep Kane and Toews engaged as players, locker-room leaders and mentors.
“Discussions with them during the summer and the start of training camp, they seem very positive. They seem like they’re smiling and happy to be here, and that’s all I’m happy about right now,” Richardson said.
“I know as the season goes along, there is always (going to be) chatter about that. Whether we’re on a roll and they’re playing very well, then their value is high, or we’re struggling. Do we move assets? That’s Kyle’s job.
“I’m going to try to keep us on the upside so there’s less chatter than more chatter.”