Bad news: We have a new round of salary cap angst following new contracts for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Good news: New jobs for the Chicago Blackhawks’ Department of Statues and Tribute Videos.
Today the Hawks announced the contract extensions for the Faces of the Franchise, the maximum 8 years in length, with a cap hit of $10.5 million each.
So now they can each play 17 seasons for the Chicago Blackhawks, after which they will be 35 (Toews) and 34 (Kane).
While I personally figured they’d re-up for around 9.5 each, the extra 2 mildo a year will be less of an issue as the contract goes on. One thing is for certain – the Hawks are going for broke on their ability to draft and develop players from here on out. Kane and Toews still have their $6.3 million hits for another year. But the new contracts do present Hawks GM Stan Bowman with a set of challenges for the coming season.
For starters, they only have $3.2 million in tagging room for any other extensions they might want to give out to Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, or Nick Leddy. Unless they move a lot of contract before next July 1, they will either have to trade some of these guys, or gird their loins for the offer sheets rolling in.
On top of that, every GM in the league knows the Hawks are going to be over a barrel next summer, just as they are now. It’s going to be very difficult for Bowman to get fair value, even if he’s dangling a Sharp, Seabrook or Bickell.
But you know what? The Blackhawks’ objective every year is winning the Stanley Cup. It’s supposed to be difficult. So there are going to have to be some tough goodbyes. I fully expect one to happen between today’s announcement of these extensions and next week’s presser. They are going to want to sail into the Convention signing a happy tune.
And really, why shouldn’t the tune be happy? You’ve got Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith all signed through the 2023 season. This trio will watch the entire roster change around them in this time. A lot of the players who are in the pipeline to replace the ones who are currently here look like they will be able to replace existing players rather capably.
Neither Kane nor Toews are strangers to roster turnover. There were only 8 players who had their names on both the 2010 and 2013 Cup. There are currently 7 left. There are more guys left from the 2013 team, but that number will also dwindle over time. It’s always been part of the game, even more so in the salary cap era. Your core guys stick around, and you replace everyone else.
And as core guys go, there are no two in hockey you’d rather have than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.