Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman recently caused a stir when he said that current stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would be Blackhawks "forever."
It's quite the statement to make in the era of free agency and the salary cap. Even in the best-case scenario, couldn't a salary-cap situation cause unforeseen departures of star players?
Well, Bowman joined David Kaplan on SportsTalk Live on Friday in South Bend, Ind., where the Hawks are holding their training camp. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times asked Bowman point-blank if he could envision a scenario in which Toews and Kane aren't Blackhawks their entire careers.
And Bowman said no.
"We want to always make sure we have the best product on the ice year after year, and Patrick and Jonathan are two of the reasons that we're back there," Bowman said. "They sort of started this process. When they came on to the scene our team automatically had credibility. They had good success on the ice, and it became a place where players wanted to play. So we want to keep that going forward. Certainly, they're very competitive guys. They want to be on a team that has a chance to win, and we're going to provide that to them. So that's why we can say they're going to be here."
Bowman's recent long-term signings of Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson have raised questions about the team's salary-cap future. But Bowman assured Kaplan that it's all part of the organization's philosophy.
"I think in our case, we recognize when you find good players and they want to be in Chicago and you've acheived great successes with them, then you should try to keep them together," Bowman said. "Obviously, you can't bring every player back every single season, but the players who are really important to the success of the team are the ones you want to try to focus on and then build around them. And that's what we've tried to do over the last season or two."
Hear more from Bowman and John McDonough in the video above.