Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/10/14 at 07:41 AM ET
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.
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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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