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Focus in Chicago turns to Kane, Toews’ contracts

Jun 3, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews AP

The Chicago Blackhawks weren’t able to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for a third time in five years, but they have to feel very good about the team they’ve assembled. They’re still relatively young, deep, and most of their key players under control for at least a couple more seasons — with two notable exceptions.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will both become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2015.

It would be shocking if Kane and Toews didn’t re-sign with Chicago. In fact, it would be eyebrow raising if their extensions weren’t announced by the end of the summer. The bigger question is what kind of raise they’ll demand from their respective annual cap hits of $6.3 million.

Toews and Kane are both elite forwards and clutch performers that can basically name their price, but it isn’t that simple in the salary cap era, especially now that the new CBA killed the old model of signing superstars to heavily frontloaded long-term deals that kept their cap hits down (read: Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith).

Since the new rules came into effect, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Evgeni Malkin, and Claude Giroux have all signed contracts with annual cap hits in the range of $8.25 million to $9.5 million. If Kane and Toews demanded something in that ballpark, the Blackhawks would probably concede. Theoretically, they could try asking for more under the assumption that the salary cap will continue to climb at a healthy pace.

At some point though, it becomes an issue. Pittsburgh has dedicated $18.2 million annually to Malkin and Sidney Crosby and the team hasn’t lived up to expectations in recent years, arguably due to a lack of depth.

Carrying players with high cap hits can be problematic, even if their play seemingly justifies the cost. Of the top 10 cap hit players in 2013-14, only one made it to the conference finals (Rick Nash). That number balloons to four in the top-20, but that’s counting Marian Gaborik and Thomas Vanek, who were trade acquisitions and therefore not the full cap responsibility of Los Angeles and Montreal respectively.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see what Kane and Toews demand.

  1. hockey412 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    One nit-pick….Malkin and Crosby have underwhelmed in the playoffs…I hardly think being the Art Ross winner is underwhelming. And Malkin hasn’t been too shabby either in the regular season.

    They’ll be lucky to get either of them for 8.5M per.

    • thethorntonstrokes - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      Malkin and Crosby are both better than Kane and Toews, so I would expect 8m range for both

      • thethorntonstrokes - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        8.5***

      • petersteelewannabe - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        If I was starting a dream team right now, I would start with Toews over Crosby-not by much, but I bet I’m not alone in that. Crosby is a better offensive player for sure, but JT is better two-way and certainly a better leader.

      • pepper2011 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        The number of times their names appear on the Cup would beg to differ.

      • montrealbbr - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        Better during the regular season maybe but not when it matters most.

      • ruthlessandtoothless - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        The toews/kane 1-2 punch has proven far more successful than the crosby/malkin combo so far

      • booboo31 - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        they aren’t but anyways…

      • eglsfan - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:21 PM

        @thethorntonstrokes ….Malkin and Crosby are both better than Kane and Toews, so I would expect 8m range for both

        dude are you high? the undwerwhelming Penguins!!!

    • thethorntonstrokes - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      “pepper2011 -The number of times their names appear on the Cup would beg to differ.”

      Using that logic, Darren McCarty and Kirk Maltby were twice the player Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are

      • pepper2011 - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        Seriously – you can’t be that dumb.

        There is a big difference in role players than the two stars/core players each team is built around.

        If you want to play that game; why are Sid and Malkin better?

        Art Ross Trophies? I guess Bernie Geofrrion and Dickie Moore are as good as Sid and Geno then.

    • Ryan Dadoun - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      Sorry for the confusion, I was referring to the Penguins’ recent playoff runs in general rather than Crosby/Malkin specifically. I’ve changed the wording to make that more apparent.

      • esracerx46 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        No need for apologies, some people read what they want.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    All depends on the salary cap. The Bruins gave big ol contracts to Bergeron and Rask relative to the current cap. If the number goes up as expected, they are pretty team friendly deals.

    Same could go for Toews and Kane.

    • pepper2011 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Bergeron @6.5 – I wouldn’t consider that a “big ol” contract. That to me is a steal regardless of the Cap movement.

      But, I agree with your concept.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        That’s fair regarding Bergy. Kind of hard to overpay a perennial Selke finalist, and a guy who is willing to play with a hole in his lung.

  3. greej1938l - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    I hope they get split up. Everyone knows they don’t exactly get along either

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      “Everyone knows they don’t exactly get along either.” Huh? Just because one is Captain Serious and one is Captain Party doesn’t mean they don’t exactly get along.

  4. blomfeld - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    DON’T EVER LET LUNDQVIST SEE YOUR CAR BREAK DOWN !

    Right now you people need to forget about this contract crap and instead focus on supporting your WC brothers, the ‘glorious’ Kings of Los Angeles ! Yes sir … you Blackhawks are gonna help us ! … welcome aboard friends ! :)

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    • getadealdonealready - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      No thanks, I’ll be cheering for the NYR’s, have to go with the better hockey town.

  5. pjblake2redwings - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    i would like to see them broken up

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      *Looks at username* No wayyyyyy

  6. hrudey - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    If 29 other teams would take them in a heartbeat, that tells you all you need to know about their value.

  7. areaman714 - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    They will get very near, probably a little more, the same deals Getzy and Perry got with the Ducks. These players are the faces of their respective franchises and young enough to warrant the max length of their respective contracts. The way the cap is going, the Getzy/Perry deals look better each year.

  8. kane987245 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Pay them what they want. Period. You do that, yes that cap hit will be brutal but you are securing your future. They already have their d-men locked up and i am sure Seabrook will be extended when his time comes, they have their depth already and will be competing for the cup for years to come. All they have to do is sign them and let their skills and talents do the rest.

    Unlike PIT they have talent that can play with them every night and are healthy as well. They have been doing what people expected to do and that is deep playoff runs every year that resulted in Stanley cup trips and wins. Extend them and that will only continue.

  9. McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Here’s what happens IMHO:

    #19 and #88 get extended max years, same salary but below the max. Seabrook gets a three year deal, Oduya and Sharp get traded. Regin comes back and they trade for or UFA sign a 2nd line center.

    Morin and Nordstrom are brought up full time as is a young D man.

    • gret9 - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      After next year when Toews’ and Kane’s new deal kick in, Oduya is an UFA so I don’t understand why he would need to be traded.

      Also, Seabrook’s current deal runs through 15-16 so the Blackhawks can’t do anything with his contract until 7/15.

  10. JB (the original) - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Just for comparison’s stake, here’s the Parise/Suter contracts (they’re identical) breakdown:

    Year 1: $2 million base salary + $10 million signing bonus = $12 million
    Year 2: $2 million base salary + $10 million signing bonus = $12 million
    Year 3: $6 million base + $5 million signing bonus = $11 million
    Years 4-8: $9 million base
    Year 9: $8 million base
    Year 10: $6 million base
    Year 11: $2 million base
    Years 12-13: $1 million base

    • JB (the original) - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      *sake

  11. djshnooks - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Kane just bought a house in Buffalo.

    For what it’s worth.

    Why keep riding Toew’s coattail or sitting in his shadow, instead of coming home to help turn around your childhood team, with somebody like McDavid or Eichel, and Reinhart or Bennett…not to mention all the pieces already in place…and be “THE guy!”

    He could make nearly twice as much too.

    If he doesn’t sign this summer, it’s a sign.

    • pjblake2redwings - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      If it all fell together like you have here that would be an epic turn around for Buffalo.

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      He’s not riding Toews’ coat tails. IndianHead Nation is quite split on who “the guy” in Chicago is. Half the population here says the team is who they are because Johnny Be Good is the best captain, best (arguably) defensive forward, and best leader in the game. The other half says “Yeah, but without Kaner that means we lose in the first round of the playoffs instead of going to the SCF. Kaner is what gives the team juice.”

      How would he make nearly twice as much? He’ll get a max deal from hockey, but do you know how many endorsements he has? And the Chicago market is a little bigger than Buffalo.

      I understand the boyhood team idea. But if you are him, and the money is the same, would you want to play for a team that can constantly contend for a cup or be part of a possible 5 – 6 year rebuilding project, at which point your career will be on the downside?

      The only reason they aren’t together forever is by one wanting out or Rocky loses his mind and turns into his dad. I don’t see either scenario happening.

  12. tfilarski - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    8.75 mil for both of em sounds good to me

  13. hockeyornothing - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Something can always be done with any contract.

  14. 311sucks - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    if they don’t take at least a little hometown discount i’d be kind of upset. sure they totally deserve a raise but it seems unjust that they ask for a lot more given chicago’s cap situation. why wouldnt they want to stay there? chicago is a contender.

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