Jonathan Toews' teammates have had a first-hand look at just how valuable the Blackhawks' captain has been this season and now the rest of the NHL is getting clued in as well.

As the Hawks climb in the Western Conference standings, the buzz surrounding Toews' high-level of play is growing and the center is being mentioned as a candidate for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league's most valuable player.

Helping matters lately has been the Hawks' appearances on national television, including back-to-back games Sunday and Monday. Led by Toews, the Stanley Cup champions are 6-1-3 on national TV this season with up to five more appearances scheduled.

"That seems a little farfetched," the ever-modest Toews said of MVP talk. "It's not really what matters to me but it's definitely a compliment just to even have the slightest mention when people are talking about that."

Toews, 22, may not want to discuss it, but Hawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn't hesitate to heap the praises on his talented young leader.

"He has been dominating a lot of times on the ice," Quenneville said. "Johnny's a top player in the league. I think early on (Sidney) Crosby was a guy who had an amazing (scoring) streak and was a top player. Johnny from the start of the season, you just see him getting better and better and as the games become more important Johnny likes that challenge and rises to the occasion. He certainly should get some consideration."

In his last 21 games, Toews has recorded at least one point in 18 and has a total of 33 during that span with 13 goals and 20 assists. His career-high 71 points off 30 goals and 41 assists rank him seventh in scoring in the NHL entering Tuesday's games. Toews is also tied for fifth with a plus-minus rating of plus-25 and is tied for sixth with a 57.4 percent success rate in the faceoff circle.