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Chicago Blackhawks Contract Update: Tag, Someone's Out?

Tab BamfordSenior Writer INovember 18, 2009

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 13: Tomas Kaberle #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs controls the puck under pressure from Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on November 13, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks are continuing to work with the agents for young stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith on new contracts to keep the three in Chicago for the better part of the next decade.

Many sites have reported that the general framework for each deal appears to be certain, but now the Hawks have to take care of some business on their end.

One of the issues the Hawks will have to work through is making sure every "i" is dotted and each "t" is crossed, because the NHL is taking a very close look at any deal that extends beyond 10 years in the wake of suspicious contracts like those of Philadelphia's Chris Pronger and Chicago's Marian Hossa this past summer.

It is believed that Duncan Keith's deal could be for 13 years, which qualifies for the extra scrutiny.

The other, and perhaps bigger, issue the Blackhawks will face has to do with a specific rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement called "tagging." ESPN's Jesse Rogers wrote on Wednesday afternoon that he was clued into this provision by a rival GM.

"Tagging" is a rule in the CBA that prohibits a team from having more money committed to the following season than the current year's salary cap. Essentially, if this year's salary cap is roughly $56 million, the Hawks wouldn't be allowed to have the projected $61 million committed to next year's payroll after these three deals were completed.

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Which means the Blackhawks might have to move one (or two) players before they officially put the pen to paper with the three young studs.

As the contract situation(s) and player movement continues to evolve for the Blackhawks, we'll keep you updated.

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