10 to watch at Blackhawks prospect camp

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
10:05
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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The Chicago Blackhawks open their annual prospect camp at Johnny's IceHouse West on Sunday. Here are 10 prospects to keep an eye on throughout the week:

Alex Broadhurst, forward, 2011 seventh-round pick: Broadhurst was a bit of surprise this past season. He had a better offensive season than any of the organization's other first-year professionals. He finished third on the AHL's Rockford IceHogs with 45 points, which included 16 goals and 29 assists. Only Adam Clendening and Jeremy Morin had more points. The Blackhawks certainly found value with this seventh-round selection.

Adam Clendening, defenseman, 2011 second-round pick: Clendening is on the verge of the NHL. He's the most offensive defenseman the Blackhawks have amongst their prospects. He led the IceHogs in points last season, and he also took a step forward with his defense. He is still 21 years old.

[+] EnlargeStephen Johns
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesAfter four years at Notre Dame, Stephen Johns signed with the Hawks in April.
Ryan Hartman, forward, 2013 first-round pick: Hartman enters his second year in the organization. He had a solid first season and ended it with the IceHogs. The Blackhawks like how hard and tough he plays. He's been compared to Andrew Shaw.

Vincent Hinostroza, forward, 2012 sixth-round pick: Hinostroza had one of the strongest freshman seasons among the Blackhawks prospects. He was third on Notre Dame with 32 points. He had eight goals and 24 assists. He's a playmaker.

Stephen Johns, defenseman, 2010 second-round pick: Johns finally signed with the Blackhawks in April after spending four years at Notre Dame. He should be the worth wait. He's a physical player and has a 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame. He could be NHL ready this season.

Mark McNeill, forward, 2011 first-round pick: McNeill is among a few forward prospects who could make the jump to the NHL next season. He's transitioned well into playing a wing and impressed people within the organization with his commitment to winning late last season with the IceHogs. He'll look to continue to catch the right eyes with his play during the camp.

Dennis Rasmussen, forward, free-agent signing: The Blackhawks signed the 24-year-old Rasmussen to a one-year deal in June. He played last season in Sweden and tallied 40 points, including 16 goals and 24 assists, in 52 games. He's expected to give the Blackhawks additional organizational depth at center.

Nick Schmaltz, forward, 2014 first-round pick: Schmaltz is the Blackhawks' latest first-round pick. They moved up in the draft to get him. His hands and offensive game have been touted, but his work ethic has been questioned. This will be his first chance to impress people. He's headed to North Dakota to be a freshman this year.

Teuvo Teravainen, forward, 2012 first-round pick: Teravainen is the organization's top prospect and likely the second-line center of the future. His full-time NHL arrival probably got delayed by the signing of Brad Richards, but Teravainen will see time with the Blackhawks this season. He's offensively gifted and should put on a show for fans throughout the camp.

Trevor van Riemsdyk, defenseman, free-agent signing: Van Riemsdyk was expected to be one of the top college free agents after the season, but teams backed off after he suffered a serious ankle injury. If he can return to form, the Blackhawks may have gotten a steal in signing him. He's the younger brother of James van Riemsdyk, who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Other notables: Matt Carey (forward), Chris Calnan (forward), Phillip Danault (forward), Carl Dahlstrom (defenseman), Dillon Fournier (defenseman), John Hayden (forward), Garret Ross (forward), Kent Simpson (goaltender).

Kane, Toews contract breakdown

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
2:43
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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Here’s a look at how the contracts for Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will each be broken down over their eight-year extensions:

(According to information told to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun by a source)
2015-16 -- Signing bonus at $7 million + salary at $6.8 million = $13.8 million
2016-17 -- Signing bonus at $6 million + salary at $7.8 million = $13.8 million
2017-18 -- Signing bonus at $6 million + salary at $7.8 million = $13.8 million
2018-19 -- Signing bonus at $6 million + salary at $6 million = $12 million
2019-20 -- Signing bonus at $6 million + salary at $3.8 million = $9.8 million
2020-21 -- Signing bonus at $5 million + salary at $2 million = $7 million
2021-22 -- Signing bonus at $4 million + salary at $2.9 million = $6.9 million
2022-23 -- Signing bonus at $4 million + salary at $2.9 million = $6.9 million

Total signing bonuses: $44 million
Total salaries: $40 million

The Blackhawks will have an average cap hit of $10.5 million per season over the eight years.

Agent: Kane, Toews balance wins, payday

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
1:24
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane could have chosen to be the LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony of the NHL's free agency market a year from now.

Toews
Kane
Based on their talents, ages and where the salary cap is expected to go, Kane and Toews would have undoubtedly had suitors lining up to wine and dine them and willing to pay them more than the $10.5 million average salary they'll receive from the Chicago Blackhawks beginning in the 2015-16 season.

That scenario plus many more were discussed by Kane and Toews with their agent Pat Brisson of Creative Artists Agency. What trumped everything in the end, including adding millions of dollars to their bank accounts, was the prospect of winning additional Stanley Cups with the same organization and fans they've spent their entire careers with.

"Anytime you go through an opportunity like this you have to study and look at all your options," Brisson wrote in an email on Thursday. "They obviously elected to keep the puzzle in place in order to maximize their chances to continue winning."

Brisson wouldn't get into details of the negotiations, but the assumption is Kane and Toews could have pushed the Blackhawks for more money if they really wanted to. Brisson acknowledged Kane and Toews entered contract talks with the mindset of balancing being paid fairly and not destroying the Blackhawks' future Stanley Cup chances with their salaries.

"It was actually one if not the top priority," Brisson wrote. "They understand that hockey is a team sport and in order to win you need not only the right players but everyone on board."

Brisson has come across two stars players who have been on nearly the same page before. He also represents the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He negotiated a 12-year, $104.4 million deal for Crosby in 2012 and a eight-year, $76 million deal for Malkin in 2013.

Kane's and Toews' situation was different for Brisson.

"We also represent Sidney and Geno in Pittsburgh in a very similar setting however their deals came up a year apart with two different CBA rights," Brisson wrote. "This case was more unique in a way of timing together. Jonny and Pat made it clear they both totally respect each other's talent to continue competing for the Cup years to come. That is the beauty of this relationship.

"Before anything else [what impresses me about them is] they are great people and come from exemplary families. They both want to make a difference and love to compete and winning. They are also clean competitors."

Challenge begins after Kane, Toews deals

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
12:54
PM CT
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Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman achieved Wednesday what he had been planning out for years and secured Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to lengthy contract extensions.

Unfortunately for Bowman, his job doesn't get any easier from here on out.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Toews
Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty ImagesPatrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have led the Blackhawks' resurgence with two Stanley Cups in five years.
Signing Kane and Toews for eight more years assured the Blackhawks of two superstars through the 2022-23 season. Add in what the Blackhawks have already done in signing Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen through 2017, Niklas Hjalmarsson through 2019, Corey Crawford through 2020, Marian Hossa through 2021 and Duncan Keith through 2023, and the Blackhawks have nine strong pieces in place for their quest to win multiple Stanley Cups.

But as the Blackhawks have learned over the past five years, their elite players must be surrounded by quality depth and the right role players for them to hoist the Stanley Cup. They had that in 2010 and 2013 and succeeded. They didn't have that in 2011, 2012 and 2014, and they failed.

Bowman must now figure out how to keep the Blackhawks a perennial Stanley Cup contender while balancing a tight checkbook.

Kane and Toews could have gotten more money on the open market and could have squeezed more out of the Blackhawks, but their cap hits are still significant at a total of $21 million a season. The Blackhawks are already at $65,757,628 in salary cap payroll with 15 players signed for the 2015-16 season and around $52,707,628 with nine players signed for the 2016-17 season, according to capgeek.com. Even with the cap expected to increase in the coming years from where it's at now at $69 million, the Blackhawks won't have much financial wiggle room in the future.

Bowman's first task after completing the contracts for Kane and Toews is getting the Blackhawks cap-compliant for the upcoming season. The Blackhawks are around $1.3 million over cap, which would be more if Teravainen was included on the roster. Bowman has to trade at least one player to get under the cap.

Bowman's next goal will be re-signing Brandon Saad to an extension. Saad is set to become a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. Based on him being 21 and how he's developed so far, he could demand anywhere from $4 million to $6 million. The Blackhawks would like to knock that deal out before July 1, 2015, just in case another team would attempt to steal him away with a high-priced offer sheet.

Let's say Saad agrees to somewhere around $4.5 million to $5 million a season for two to four years. The Blackhawks would strengthen their core again, but that would leave even less money for the remainder of the roster. At some point, the Blackhawks will have to let some of their prized possessions go. Between Brent Seabrook, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and Andrew Shaw, all players who worked their way up through the organization, the Blackhawks will eventually have to part with some of them because of cap restraints over the next two seasons. Down the line, they'll likely face the same difficult decisions with Sharp and Bickell. Not everyone will be able to retire as Blackhawks.

[+] Enlarge Brandon Saad
Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)Brandon Saad is set to become a restricted free agent after next season.
The Blackhawks do appear to be in a strong place with their prospect system. Teravainen is considered to be the real deal. Defensemen Adam Clendening, Stephen Johns and Klas Dahlbeck are all close to being NHL-ready. Forward Joakim Nordstrom surprised many and showed he could play in the NHL last season. Forwards Mark McNeill and Alex Broadhurst could also be around the corner based on their first pro seasons.

The Blackhawks are also hopeful Phillip Danault, Garret Ross and Ryan Hartman can get closer to the NHL in the next few seasons. Unlike the past few seasons where they have been able to let NHL-ready prospects such as Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen and Ryan Stanton depart for other teams, the Blackhawks will need similar players to remain in the organization and contribute at the NHL level.

The Blackhawks have benefited from drafting well in recent years. Bowman drafted top-6 forwards in Teravainen with the No. 18 overall pick in 2012 and in Saad with the No. 43 overall pick in 2011. They got draft steals in centers Shaw and Kruger with fifth-round picks. If they could somehow sign Kevin Hayes before the Aug. 15 deadline, that would be another late first-round pick who could be in the NHL in the next few years. Bowman will later need draft picks such as Tyler Motte, Vincent Hinostroza, Carl Dahlstrom, Nick Schmaltz and Robin Norell to continue to progress and be ready in the next three to six years to step in and be supporting players to Kane and Toews.

Bowman can be credited for putting the Blackhawks in a favorable position going forward with who he has signed and drafted, but he hasn't been without his missteps in recent seasons. Re-signing Michal Handzus after the Stanley Cup run, re-signing Michal Rozsival to a two-year deal, trading for Kris Versteeg this past season and signing Brandon Bollig to a contract extension are likely decisions Bowman would like to have back. Bickell's play next season will also determine whether Bowman made the right call on a four-year, $16 million extension on him after the 2013 season.

The Blackhawks won't be able to afford many mistakes in the future. They just won't have the cap space to fix them. They'll likely be up against the cap every year and won't have the luxury of attempting to add someone such as Ryan Kesler to a long-term deal this summer or obtaining a key player at the trade deadline. What they have in the NHL and AHL will be Bowman's main resources.

Bowman knows his legacy will ultimately be determined by how many more Stanley Cup banners are raised at the United Center. With the ink now dry on the extensions for Kane and Toews, Bowman's work begins now.

Worst UFA deals this offseason

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
9:19
PM CT

The opening of free agency in the NHL has been nicknamed "silly season" because of the number of over-the-top contracts that are handed out on July 1. This year, there were certainly silly deals, but several teams landed quality players for reasonable contracts. We examined those on Wednesday.

In this file, we're going to look at some of the worst of those contracts, according to both standard and advanced metrics. We'll make reference to goals versus threshold (GVT), a Hockey Prospectus proprietary statistic; for more on GVT, click here. All other advanced stats are courtesy of ExtraSkater.com.

Here are the five worst deals so far:


Free agent: Ryan Miller, G, (2013-14 GVT: 15.6)
Team: Vancouver Canucks
Price tag: Three years, $18 million

This head-scratching contract presents the question: Are the Canucks rebuilding after trading Ryan Kesler or not?

Signing a 33-year-old goaltender to a $6 million per year deal suggests they are in win-now mode instead of finding out whether they have the next franchise goaltender in Jacob Markstrom or Eddie Lack. Yet, considering the additions the Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks made, it seems like a long shot the Canucks will be a contender this season. Oh, and there's still the matter of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, who didn't lose any key players from their championship roster.

The other aspect of the deal that is questionable is the cap hit for a goaltender who has been only a bit above average since winning the Vezina Trophy in 2009-10. He has had save percentages of .916, .916, .915 and .923 during that stretch, with the league average hovering around .913.

The best predictor for future performance is even-strength save percentage, where Miller was below the elite company of the league last season, as seen in the chart at right.

There is no doubt Miller is a very good goaltender, but spending $6 million per year during a time of retooling or rebuilding does not make a lot of sense. Expect Miller to be reminded of his days in Buffalo, fighting to sneak in to the postseason.


Free agent: Dave Bolland, C (2013-14 GVT: 2.8)
Team: Florida Panthers
Price tag: Five years, $27.5 million

Toews, Kane deals: The $84 million reaction

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
5:27
PM CT
By ESPN.com staff
ESPNChicago.com
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The Chicago Blackhawks have reached eight-year deals with star forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the team announced Wednesday.

Each contract is worth a total of $84 million, sources said.

Both deals are front-loaded and each includes $44 million in signing bonuses, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

Money well spent on Kane, Toews

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
2:59
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- In a prepared statement written in exquisitely prepared PR lingo, Patrick Kane, the baddest man in skates, had this to say about his new eight-year deal to remain with the Blackhawks:

"It's great to be able to continue my career in Chicago. Playing with the best organization in sports and the best fans in the game is a blessing. Since I was drafted by the Blackhawks, the people of Chicago have really embraced me and treated me with nothing but respect. I look forward to many more years of success with the Blackhawks."

That's very nice. Which of my friends in the PR department wrote that?

Kane will speak in human English in a forthcoming news conference, and surely will parrot the same team-first jargon, but this is what he should have said after he and Jonathan Toews signed twin eight-year deals with a reported $10.5 million in annual average value:

"I'm really lucky that the Blackhawks were run into the ground before Toewser and I got here. Years of mismanagement allowed former general manager Dale Tallon (Remember him?) to draft us in successive years, not that it was a stretch. We were all lucky enough that the strong foundation was forming as Rocky Wirtz took over for his deceased father and lifted this franchise out of self-medicated slumber. I mean, my midget hockey team had their home games televised.

"As I liked to tell Shawzer when he's centering me, timing is everything. The Hawks have built a great organization around Jonny and myself, and we're fortunate for that. But mostly, I'd like to say: You're welcome. You're all welcome that we're two of the best hockey players on the planet and the Blackhawks have won two Stanley Cups in five years behind our awesomeness. Let's win some more Cups and party for the next eight years."


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Kane, Toews have Hawks positioned well

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
12:45
PM CT
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Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have shared their NHL journey ever since they first took the ice together for the Chicago Blackhawks and combined their talents to produce a goal on Oct. 10, 2007.

It marked the beginning of their success together. The ending is still nowhere in sight.

[+] EnlargePatrick Kane, Jonathan Toews
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe careers of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be tied together for eight more years.
Kane and Toews continued to align their NHL careers Wednesday by both agreeing to eight-year contract extensions which a source says are for $10.5 million per year, keeping them Blackhawks through the 2022-23 season.

Their arrival in 2007 represented hope for an Original Six organization which had fallen on hard times for nearly a decade. They haven't disappointed since.

Over the past seven seasons, Kane and Toews have played in nearly 500 regular-season games together. After four consecutive sub-.500 seasons prior to their rookie season, the Blackhawks have since gone 309-163-68 with them. The two players have combined for 933 regular-season points, including 375 goals.

As good as they've been in the regular season, they've been even more clutch when it's mattered most in the playoffs. They returned the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2009 after five seasons of failing to do so and immediately helped them to the Western Conference finals. A year later, they both raised their first Stanley Cup and ended the franchise's 49-year championship drought. They've since led the Blackhawks to a second Stanley Cup and made them a perennial contender.

From Day 1, they have accomplished it all together and never looked to outshine or outdo the other. While they already have money and fame, they could have even more. All it would have taken is one slightly larger ego, and they may have never agreed to identical five-year, $31.5 million contract extensions the first time around and certainly not their newest contracts.

Kane and Toews are being paid like superstars, but they could have certainly asked for more and would have had their share of more significant offers to choose from if they had waited to go onto the free market after next season. They left money on the table, allowing the Blackhawks some cap flexibility. The Blackhawks may have to eventually let some core pieces go and turn to their prospects who are NHL ready, but they should be Stanley Cup contenders for the foreseeable future.

The Blackhawks' main objective with that additional money will be re-signing Brandon Saad to a new contract. Saad will be a restricted free agent after next season, and there has to be some fear another team will come along with an offer sheet if he's allowed to get that far. Considering he's 21, has shown improvement in each of his first two seasons and the cap is expected to rise, Saad could fetch somewhere between $4-7 million a season.

Kane and Toews permitted their careers to be harmonious, realizing their opportunity in Chicago is rare and can ultimately elevate them to a special place in NHL history.

Kane, at 25 years old, and Toews, at 26, didn't attach themselves together through their athletic primes and into their 30s to make a run at just one or two more Stanley Cups in Chicago. They're out to deliver to the Blackhawks what Michael Jordan once bestowed upon the Chicago Bulls.

Like Jordan, to honor Kane's and Toews' shared success and shared commitment to the Blackhawks, the organization will undoubtedly unveil matching statues of them outside the United Center whenever they decide to retire. It'll be a fitting end to their NHL journey, as they'll have a permanent place on Madison together side by side.

Sources: Kane, Toews agree for $84M

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
12:09
PM CT
video

The Chicago Blackhawks have reached eight-year deals with star forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the team announced Wednesday.

Each contract is worth a total of $84 million, sources said.

Both deals are front-loaded and each includes $44 million in signing bonuses, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

Kane and Toews previously agreed to matching five-year, $31.5 million extensions in 2009 that were set to expire after this coming season. They now will be with the Blackhawks through the 2022-23 season.

"I could not be more grateful for the amazing moments and opportunities I've been given by the Chicago Blackhawks," Toews said in a statement. "There's no organization in sports that cares more about the overall experience of their fans and the success of their players. To have the chance to continue with this amazing group of teammates and people throughout the organization is an incredible honor. There's nothing we want more as players than to continue to win Stanley Cups for the best hockey fans on the planet."

Kane shared similar feelings.

"It's great to be able to continue my career in Chicago. Playing with the best organization in sports and the best fans in the game is a blessing," he said in a statement. "Since I was drafted by the Blackhawks, the people of Chicago have really embraced me and treated me with nothing but respect. I look forward to many more years of success with the Blackhawks."


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Dahlbeck takes 'big step' for Blackhawks

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
10:28
AM CT
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The hardest position to crack in the Chicago Blackhawks roster in recent seasons also happens to be where the organization has some of its greatest prospect depth.

The Blackhawks were so deep at defenseman last season they allowed prospect Ryan Stanton to be snatched by the Vancouver Canucks off waivers and traded prospect Dylan Olsen to the Florida Panthers. Both became permanent fixtures in the NHL for their new teams.

And there are even more defensemen within the organization who are on the verge of being NHL ready. Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns are the two names mentioned the most, but Klas Dahlbeck, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound Swedish defenseman, has also put himself in that discussion.

Dahlbeck, who turned 23 on Sunday, was at the top of the list among the Blackhawks prospects who progressed this past season. Blackhawks personnel certainly took notice of his development during his second season with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs.

"He took a big step," Blackhawks director of hockey administration/general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard said recently. "His rookie year (2012-13) over here, there's so much to learn at the American League level. They have to learn to do some things on their own for the first time. He was coming over from a different country, a different rink size.

"I really liked his game. He was consistent night in and night out. He had the same game every night. But he didn't have a lot of points. He had a really good summer, really worked on his shot. There was a big difference in Year 1 to Year 2."

That was Dahlbeck's intention. He told IceHogs coach Ted Dent after the 2012-13 season he wanted to contribute more offensively and then spent the time on the ice in the offseason to make sure he was capable of that this past season.

"Last summer he really worked on his offensive game, worked on his shot," Dent said in a recent interview. "He got involved in the rush. I think he's developed really well. He's a great team player. There's no maintenance. For that reason, I put an A on him."

While Dahlbeck increased his point total from six in 70 games in his first season to 35 in 75 games this past season, his upside for the Blackhawks is still his defensive ability. He's most likely to eventually fill a hole for the Blackhawks in a defensive-minded role.

"I think you would classify him as a stay-at-home defenseman -- defense first, penalty kill, keep the puck out of your net, be that anchor all teams have," Dent said. "Anything offensively he can add is more of a bonus."

Dahlbeck isn't a finished product yet. Dent said he's still learning how to block shots. The organization has tried to get Dahlbeck to watch Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson as much as possible and hopefully pick up some of his game.

"We use Niklas Hjalmarsson to compare to him a lot," Bernard said. "'Look at how Nik uses his stick, how he blocks shots.'"

Dahlbeck, a 2011 third-round draft pick, got a taste of the NHL late in the season. He never got into a game, but he practiced with the Blackhawks throughout the playoffs.

Bernard once wasn't sure what to expect from Dahlbeck, but now he knows better.

"When he came over, he surprised me a little bit," Bernard said. "Going forward, he's not going to surprise me. He's a very skilled defenseman. He doesn't want to waste one day of his development time. He works extremely hard. He's very coachable. He's now reaping a few rewards."

Reports: Kompon leaving Blackhawks staff

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
6:32
PM CT
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Jamie Kompon is leaving the Chicago Blackhawks' coaching staff and will be named the head coach and general manager of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks, according to multiple reports.

Kompon's departure was first reported by hockey writer Gregg Drinnan at gdrinnan.blogspot.com. A Blackhawks spokesperson was unable to confirm the reports.

Kompon joined the Blackhawks' staff as an assistant to head coach Joel Quenneville before the 2012-13 season and spent two seasons with the Blackhawks. Kompon had also been an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. He won a Stanley Cup while an assistant for the Kings in 2012 and as assistant with the Blackhawks in 2013.

Kompon coached the Blackhawks' power play during his two seasons. The Blackhawks ranked 19th in the NHL with a 16.7 power-play percentage in the 2013 season and were tied for ninth with a 19.5 percentage this past season.

Rockford IceHogs coach Ted Dent could be among the candidates to replace Kompon. Dent has been the head coach of the IceHogs, the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, for the past three seasons and has been in the Blackhawks' organization for eight years. He was previously rumored to be in the mix for an assistant position with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Blackhawks named Jimmy Waite their new goaltending coach on Monday. He replaced Steve Weeks in the position.

Hayes won't attend Hawks prospect camp

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
1:34
PM CT
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Most of the Chicago Blackhawks' young talent is expected to attend the organization's prospect camp when it opens on Sunday, but there will be one significant player missing.

Forward Kevin Hayes will not attend the camp as he and the Blackhawks continue to negotiate an entry-level contract, according to Hayes' agent on Tuesday. Hayes had been to the Blackhawks' last four prospect camps since being selected by the Blackhawks as the No. 24 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Time is running out for Hayes and the Blackhawks to work out a deal. The Blackhawks have until Aug. 15 to sign him or he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If they are unable to agree on a contract before the deadline, the Blackhawks will be given a compensatory second-round draft pick in 2015.

Hayes' agent Robert Murray said Tuesday the negotiations are ongoing between Hayes and the Blackhawks, and there is a possibility the two sides can still come to an agreement.

"Of course he could still sign with Chicago," Murray wrote in a text on Tuesday.

Murray previously said there were a number of criteria, including depth of the organization, they were using to determine whether Hayes would sign. Hayes would likely begin his professional career in the AHL if he signed with the Blackhawks.

Hayes, 22, is considered by ESPN NHL Draft and Prospects analyst Corey Pronman as one of the Blackhawks' top six prospects. Hayes had 27 goals, 38 assists and a plus-34 rating in 40 games as a senior at Boston College this past season and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
Orr & Messier & YzermanGetty ImagesWho's the best player from their respective franchises? Vote now!
Time to step up, people.

We want you to name your favorite player from your favorite team -- of all time. Not just this season, not just the past five years, not just that one time when they should have won the Stanley Cup but were robbed by a bad call. Of all time. Columbus Blue Jackets fans, you've got less work to do than, say, fans of the Montreal Canadiens. And keep in mind that the player is representing the franchise, not just the team. New Jersey Devils fans, don't forget about your complicated lineage. Winnipeg Jets fans, remember those long, hot winters in Atlanta. Etc.

So, who's it going to be? Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque or Zdeno Chara? Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull or Jonathan Toews? Marcel Dionne or Jonathan Quick? Mike Modano or Cesare Maniago? Yes, it's a tough gig, picking players from different positions and different eras. Who cares if Bobby Clarke had to finish his career wearing Cooperalls? The bottom line: Does he deserve to be named Mr. Flyer over Bernie Parent? Or Eric Lindros (wouldn't that be ironic)?

We need representation from all 30 teams, or it's just not going to work, so vote now and vote often. Vote for players on teams you love, vote for players on teams you don't.

You can cast your ballot in three ways: in the comments section below, through our Facebook page or, if you're hitting us up from the Twitter, use the hashtag #ESPNplayerNHL. We'll sift through all of the comments and isolate the most insightful and invective-free for a grand and provocative unveiling later in the summer.

The time for bellyaching is over. You can't complain if you don't vote. Now, go!

Agent: Kane, Toews contract talks ongoing

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:53
AM CT
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The Chicago Blackhawks and forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are continuing to negotiate contract extensions, according to the players' agent Pat Brisson on Tuesday.

Kane
Toews
"The talks are and have been going for a little while, and, yes, the Hawks are making it a priority," Brisson wrote in an email on Tuesday.

Kane's and Toews' current contracts expire after the 2014-15 season. They became eligible to sign extensions on July 1.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has said multiple times that he fully expects to sign both players to long-term deals. He last spoke to the media on July 1.

"As in terms of the negotiations, I think I've been pretty consistent in saying that I'm not going to comment on them other than it's ongoing," Bowman said on July 1. "Nothing has changed from my original expectation that they're both going to be signed. We're looking forward to that."

Kane and Toews are expected to agree to matching contract extensions as they did in 2009 when they signed identical five-year, $31.5 million contracts.

Kane, 25, and Toews, 26, were both top-five draft picks by the Blackhawks and began their NHL careers in 2007. They have won two Stanley Cups together and reached four Western Conference finals.

Kane has 178 goals and 315 assists in 515 career regular-season games, and Toews has 195 goals and 245 assists in 484 career regular-season games.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26