Updates from Wednesday, July 16
"I don't know if there's any more pressure," Bowman said regarding the salary cap at a news conference at the United Center on Wednesday. "I think that's our job to make it work. It's obviously a puzzle to put together, but we're going to make it work. We've been able to do that in the past. I have a lot of faith in the ability to keep that going.
"I have always said the most important thing for us is you can't get star players. Once you do get ones, it's so hard to win. You got start players here who have shown the ability to win. They want to be here. It's not even a discussion point. I'm just thrilled we have two of them. Most teams would die to have one of these players on their team. We have two of them here. We're very fortunate. The rest of the stuff will work itself out. We put a lot of work into finding young players and surrounding these guys with a great supporting cast."
The Blackhawks Twitter account provided more reaction:
Kane: "I'm humbled to be up here with one of the greatest players in the league today, and probably the greatest leader." #8MoreYears— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 16, 2014
Kane on Brad Richards : "We know he has the ability to be a big-game player. Anytime you can add a player like him, it's good for everyone."— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 16, 2014
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times has more reaction:
Patrick Kane: "It was not even really a thought to think of continuing your career anywhere else." #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 16, 2014
Kane: "Everyone kind of goes through their different maturation process and maybe mine was a little delayed compared to other guys."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 16, 2014
Pat Brisson says Toews and Kane could have commanded the max of $13.8M, but wanted to keep the "puzzle" together. #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 16, 2014
The Chicago Blackhawks ensured they will keep one of the NHL's most clutch players for the foreseeable future by signing forward Patrick Kane to an eight-year contract extension, the team announced, as he signed with teammate Jonathan Toews:
Elliotte Friedman of HNIC provides financial details on the deal:
AAV for both is 10.5— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 9, 2014
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN also reported on bonuses in the contracts:
Vacation tweet: Note that Kane/Toews deals are front-loaded as well as the fact they include $44 million each in signing bonuses— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 9, 2014
Kane spoke about the deal in a press release from the Blackhawks (via Nina Falcone of CSN Chicago):
It's great to be able to continue my career in Chicago. Playing with the best organization in sports and the best fans in the game is a blessing. Since I was drafted by the Blackhawks, the people of Chicago have really embraced me and treated me with nothing but respect. I look forward to many more years of success with the Blackhawks.
Teammate Patrick Sharp took to his Twitter account to comment on the contracts for Kane and Toews:
Congrats to Kaner and the Captain on the great news today #showtime!— Patrick Sharp (@10PSharp) July 9, 2014
Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune and Mike Kelly of NHL Network also spoke on how these contracts will impact the Blackhawks:
Don't forget: $10.5 million cap hits won't kick in until '15-16. Salary cap expected to rise fairly dramatically due to Canadian TV deal.— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) July 9, 2014
Hawks have used both compliance buyouts.....perhaps Sharp or Hossa will be on the move to clear cap space.— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) July 9, 2014
Kane was set to become an unrestricted during the 2015 offseason, but the Blackhawks went to great lengths to ensure that one of the NHL's most dynamic talents would remain in Chicago.
Since being selected first overall in the 2007 NHL draft, Kane has been an offensive force. He has 493 points in 515 career regular-season games, but the playoffs are where No. 88 truly shines. He has 91 points in 93 postseason contests and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2013.
Kane also netted the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Blackhawks in 2010, and it can certainly be argued that he deserved to win the Conn Smythe Trophy during that run as well. When push comes to shove, Kane may be the best big-game performer in hockey right now.
With credentials like that, the Blackhawks had to do everything possible to sign Kane. That certainly seemed to be the goal from the start as both Kane and captain Jonathan Toews were in negotiations. General manager Stan Bowman made it abundantly clear that he would get both key players signed, per Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune:
#Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said negotiations with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane continue. "We're definitely going to get them re-signed."— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) June 28, 2014
Bowman even went so far as to say that the asking price wouldn't deter the organization from getting a deal done, according to Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com.
"We're not looking at the number or whether it's above or below a certain point," Bowman said. "We're just looking to continue to have two of the best players in the world on our team. I think that's the one thing you can't lose sight of."
There were initially some conflicting reports regarding precisely what type of money Kane and Toews were seeking. David Kaplan of CSN Chicago reported Kane and Toews were in the market for $10.8 million annually each (h/t CBS Chicago's Jay Zawaski):
. @thekapman reporting Kane / Toews cap hits will be around $10.8. Reasonable. I was hoping for $10.5 ish.— Jay Zawaski (@JayZawaski670) July 7, 2014
That report was later debunked, according to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period:
Contrary to a late night report that Toews/Kane are close to 8yr deals at $10.8M/yr, their agent tells me "it's not true." Talks ongoing.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 8, 2014
All of the speculation was simply a precursor to the inevitable. The Blackhawks knew that they had to get a deal done and couldn't afford to let Kane hit free agency next offseason. Kane would have commanded a potentially record-breaking contract on the open market, so Chicago would have been in real danger of losing him.
With every big contract that is doled out, though, there are consequences. Kane is the type of player who will help Chicago remain in contention for now, but he can't do it on his own. The Blackhawks have a great supporting cast in addition to their core of stars; however, that supporting cast may take a hit starting in 2015-16.
Was signing Kane the right move by the Blackhawks?
This isn't a new problem for the Blackhawks as they had to let Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and others go after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010. Cap room was needed to sign Kane, Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, so sacrifices had to be made.
It remains to be seen what those sacrifices will be this time around, but there are bound to be some. Supporting players can be found at discount prices, though, which means the Blackhawks should be able to resculpt the team around their stars.
Elite players simply can't be had for a bargain in the NHL, and the Blackhawks found that out when they signed Kane. Even though the contract is likely to create some challenging moments for the Hawks in the coming years, there is little doubt that it will ultimately prove to be well worth it.
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