Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has said it time and time again, and his stance has not changed: Patrick Kane a Jonathan Toews will be in Chicago for the long haul. Period.
With the re-signings of Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Corey Crawford — plus acquiring Kris Versteeg just weeks ago — questions have been raised concerning the Blackhawks' ability to sign both Kane and Toews this upcoming offseason.
Bowman has made it clear it will not be an issue, even if the salary cap doesn't go up by the $80 million it's projected to following the new $5.2 billion television deal in Canada.
“I don’t know if I’m in the minority, but I’m hesitant; there’s no accountability for these random people making these predictions the cap is going to be $80 million,” Bowman told ESPNChicago.com. “I might be wrong. I think there’s folly. There’s so many factors that go into the salary cap.
“Because there’s a new television deal, I’m not going to assume it’s going to be $80 million. I don’t operate that way. If you base your assumptions on predictions and you’re wrong, I can’t say, ‘They said it was going to be $80 million.’ I’m going to wait to see where it goes. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to go up. It’s think it’s a little bit irresponsible to say where it’s going to be unless you have intricate knowledge of the cap.”
Kane and Toews — who are currently making $6.5 million a season — will both be due for a pay raise. Their contracts run through the 2014-15 season, but negotiations can begin in July.
The Blackhawks don't have concerns over whether deals will be made. Instead, they're excited for the discussions to begin as they look ahead to what their team can accomplish in years to come.
"I think it all goes together," Bowman continued. "Both sides have to be happy for a contract to be consummated. I know we were when the last contracts got done, and we will be when the next contracts will be done.”