Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were handsomely paid in their latest extensions, eight-year deals worth $84 million each that will kick in at the 2015-16 season.
They certainly could’ve gotten more. As their agent Pat Brisson said on Wednesday, “they could’ve come in at $13.8 million each.” But for Toews and Kane, it wasn’t about squeezing as much money out of the Blackhawks as possible. It was about getting their share but also making sure the Blackhawks could keep their successful team intact.
Toews and Kane were not going anywhere else; they were always re-signing in Chicago. The two of them, as well as their agent Brisson, reiterated that on Wednesday when the Blackhawks held their official press conference on the identical extensions. But there were obviously some money considerations with all of this. They were due raises, and they got them -- their contracts also include $44 million in signing bonuses, money that cannot be bought out. But they didn’t want to put the Blackhawks in a financial crunch that would have necessitated another roster purge.
“We had to study, financially, to keep the puzzle together, how we could do this but at the same time get the players compensated the way they should be?” Brisson said. “They could’ve come in at 13.8 million each. At the same time, hockey’s a team sport and the reason why they’re so successful is the environment they’re in -- and I give them credit for understanding that – and the role they can play now and in the future.”
Kane said keeping things as intact as possible was important.
“It’s happened here before when you’ve lost teammates; it’s never a good feeling. But the core’s in a good place right now with the cap rising. We feel pretty comfortable on where our deals were at and still have good players around us.”
General manager Stan Bowman, who still has to shave a little more than $2 million off the current roster to get under the $69 million salary cap for the 2014-15 season, isn’t concerned that Toews and Kane’s extensions will put them in a massive crunch.
“That’s our job, to make it work,” he said. “We’ve been able to do that in the past and I have a lot of faith in the ability to keep that going. The most important thing for us is… you have star players who have shown the ability to win and they want to be here. It’s not even a discussion point. We’re just thrilled we have two of them; most teams would die to have one of these players on their teams. The rest will work itself out.”
The Blackhawks will still have their cap concerns entering the 2015-16 season; according to Capgeek.com, they’ve got $65 million allotted to just 15 players. Someone – or more than one someone – is going to go at some point. This core will not be completely together over the next several years. Still, the Blackhawks don’t see the turnover being massive, as it was a few seasons ago.
“We got really challenged in (the summer of) 2010. I don’t think we’re going to get challenged to that extent,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Stan’s done an excellent job the last few years. We’ve managed it before extremely well and going forward, I think we’ll find a way to make contributions across the board with depth and kids pushing (for roster spots). We’ll find a way to make it successful.”
Toews and Kane could have broken the bank when it came to their extensions. But the Blackhawks’ roster would have suffered some serious damage in the process, and the two were not going to let that happen.