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On The Signings Of Patrick Kane And Jonathan Toews

from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune at the PioneerPress,

Consider the $168 million the Hawks committed to Kane and Toews a down payment on a dynasty. The question now shifts to how close the Kane-Toews era will come to producing the six championships Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won for the Bulls in the '90s. Nobody seriously questioned either player would leave after next season but, to the delight of Hawks fans, general manager Stan Bowman removed any doubt by fulfilling his pledge to make Kane and Toews Hawks for life. Bowman never will make a smarter move.

The deals run so long nobody can be sure Kane will have enough hair to grow a playoff mullet by the time they expire. By 2023, Toews might even learn to smile without being coaxed. How fortunate for Chicagoans that they get to see Nos. 88 and 19 grow older together, as it should be.

Think of the salary-cap casualties to come as a result of Kane and Toews occupying $21 million annually on the payroll as collateral damage, the price for the privilege of employing two of the world's greatest hockey players. The new salaries don't kick in until 2015-16, which frames next season as a go-for-broke proposition before Bowman inevitably starts dismantling an expensive core.


added 9:15am, from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

The signings indeed ensure the Hawks will remain competitive and relevant into the next decade. But they also ensure the core that has won two championships — and came agonizingly close to another this past season — won’t be able to stay together forever.

The salary cap, now at $69 million, will rise significantly — likely to the mid-$70 millions — in 2015-16 when the extensions kick in, thanks to the new Canadian TV deal the league signed this past season. But the $21 million per season earmarked for Toews and Kane puts the Hawks at more than $65 million already, with only 15 players signed.

Already about $2 million above the cap for the 2014-15 season, the Hawks still have to shed salary this summer. By next summer, when Brandon Saad also will be due a hefty raise, they’ll have to part ways with at least one of their other stars, with only Toews, Kane and Duncan Keith (also signed through 2022-23) untouchable. That’s just the way of the modern NHL world.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink


alwaysaurie's avatar

Saad doesn’t get his healthy raise… not from the Hawks. Since he’s only an RFA next summer they might be able to afford his arbitration-salary, but even that may be too much.

He won’t fit under their cap by the time he’s a UFA, so in a few years(or earlier) he’ll be playing elsewhere. Oduya also doesn’t fit and he’ll be elsewhere for the 2015-16 season.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 07/10/14 at 09:58 AM ET

awould's avatar

The question now shifts to how close the Kane-Toews era will come to producing the six championships Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won for the Bulls in the ‘90s.

No fan outside of the Chicago bandwagon family seriously thinks any team will dominate the NHL like the Bulls did the NBA.

Major difference is, Jordan and Pippen were in the game for every single minute. Top stars in the NHL play about 1/3 of the actual game. The rest of it comes from depth, and goaltending of course. The Pens are a good example of how these types of eggs-in-two-baskets can impact depth. The Hawks have a couple of years to capitalize before the depth gets gutted, and then they’ll have to make some really savvy moves or hope their prospects really shine. Not saying they won’t make it work, but the odds get tougher.

Posted by awould on 07/10/14 at 10:38 AM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

What worries me now that Kane and Toews got these $10.5M/year deals are guys like Stamkos, Crosby, and the next wave of big UFAs coming.  If Toews (a great player, don’t get me wrong) can get that much, how much is a sniper like Stamkos or a perennial 90-100 point guy like Crosby going to get?

Unless the cap starts really skyrocketing, these teams are going to get gutted.  Toews and Kane (and Crosby, etc.) can help you win a Cup, but you’re not winning the Cup without guys like Saad, Justin Williams, Patrick Sharp, and other depth players coming up big.  They’re not going to be able to afford guys like that anymore.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 07/10/14 at 12:01 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Canucklehead on 07/10/14 at 01:01 PM ET

Yeah. I agree. A lot of people said the new CBA would be a boon for the star players and screw the depth/role players. Seems to be leaning that way.

I think the teams that will really compete for the Cup over the next decade or whatever will be those that have the right mix of young and old talent…. paying their existing elite players while their up-and-coming elite players are still in their first/second contracts. The planning to keep the boat afloat will be a very tough thing to do that can be ruined by just a couple of bad contracts or underperforming players. Very young teams like Edmonton and Colorado will be hard pressed to keep anything going once those contracts come up all at the same time. It’s probably why Colorado signed some older dudes and let Stastny walk.

I think these 8 year deals are a bad idea for both the player and the team. Look at Drew Doughty. If I were one of these youngish star players, I’d take 4 year deals at top dollar and then do it again. Doughty is under contract until he’s 29, and will basically make $7.5MM. If he’d signed that initial deal at 4 years, he’d be in the final year and next summer he could command closer to $10MM for a new 4 year deal, at which point he’d be in his prime and who knows what he could get if the cap is over $100MM. Doughty is probably an extreme example, given his crazy talent at such a young age, but still. Toews could’ve signed for 4 years at the $10.5 and then gotten much more the next contract since he’d only be 30 years old. Of course, the massive signing bonus greatly mitigates whatever contract money he gives up for the those last years, and money today is always worth more than money tomorrow.

The other thing is, a 4 year deal doesn’t tie you to a team forever.

I don’t know, I’m sure there are a ton of factors that I have no idea about that players consider, most likely one being getting locked into a contract in case the nightmare scenario happens where you get a concussion and your career nosedives.

Posted by awould on 07/10/14 at 12:33 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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