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10 to watch at Blackhawks prospect camp

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
10:05
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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
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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
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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.

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.

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.

Hawks hire Waite as goaltender coach

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
4:02
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The Chicago Blackhawks announced the hiring of Jimmy Waite as their goaltending coach on Monday.

The 45-year-old Waite, a former Blackhawks goaltender, spent the past three seasons as the goaltending coach for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"We are pleased to welcome Jimmy back to our organization in his new role," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. "He has over two decades of professional hockey experience and will be a great addition to our coaching staff."

Waite replaces Steve Weeks in the position. Weeks spent one season with the Blackhawks and was recently let go by the organization. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said recently it was his decision for Weeks not to return.

Waite is the younger brother of former Blackhawks goaltending coach Stephane Waite. Stephane coached with the Blackhawks for 10 seasons and is now the Montreal Canadiens goaltending coach.

Waite played professionally from 1988-2010. He was selected by the Blackhawks as the No. 8 overall pick in the 1987 draft and played in Chicago from 1988-1997.

Waite will work with Blackhawks goaltenders Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta next season.

"I’m very excited to come back to the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that drafted me in 1987," Waite said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Corey and Antti, and to help contribute to the success of this organization."

Opportunity likely awaits Hawks' Rundblad

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
9:55
AM CT
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Here's what you need to know about defenseman David Rundblad -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman attempted to trade for him multiple times over the last few seasons.

Bowman first tried during the 2013 season, and the Arizona Coyotes didn't budge. Bowman tried again last offseason, and the Coyotes again weren't interested. Finally, Bowman was able to obtain the 23-year-old Rundblad by trading a second-round pick in the 2014 draft for him and prospect defenseman Mathieu Brisebois on March 4.

Rundbland
Rundblad didn't get much of a chance to showcase his game after arriving to the Blackhawks. He played in just five regular-season games and was a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs. Considering what Bowman gave up to get him and how much Bowman values his upside, Rundblad is likely to see the ice more with the Blackhawks next season.

"I think he's an example of a young player who's ready for an opportunity," Bowman said recently at the NHL draft. "He's in that age bracket where he's 23, 24 years old. I think he just needs an opportunity for us. He's got a ton of talent. He's got a little more familiarity with our system now.

"It's tough when he came in at the trade deadline. He didn't get a lot of games, but everything is new in terms of how we play, what the coaches are looking for. Now he comes into training camp, he's way ahead of where he was back in March, so I would expect that to be a benefit for him. He understands the style of our team, what our coaches like and what they want him to do, and I think he's going to have a comfort level so it's good for a player like that to come in and have a chance."

The Blackhawks have seven defensemen, including Rundblad, signed for next season. If the roster remains the same heading into the season, Rundblad could rotate into the lineup just as Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival have done the past two seasons. Rozsival is also returning next season. Brookbank is an unrestricted free agent.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Rundblad plays a different game than Brookbank. Rundblad is best known for his offensive ability. He had 11 goals and 39 assists in 55 games in the Swedish Elite League during the 2010-11 season before arriving in the NHL.

Rundblad made his NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators during the 2011-12 season and has been up and down in the NHL and AHL since then. He's played in 55 NHL games and 86 AHL games over the past three seasons.

Rundblad was hopeful after joining the Blackhawks he would get a chance to play and eventually flourish.

"This is kind of a fresh start for me," Rundblad said in March. "I didn't really get a good opportunity in Phoenix. I felt like something had to happen because I need to play games."
While that didn't happen under Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville last season, Quenneville was optimistic Rundblad would play a larger role next season.

"He's part of our group," Quenneville said at the NHL draft. "He didn't get much of a chance, not much at all really. But there's some upside there. ... Hopefully we can get that out of him and get him stabilize where he can prove he can be a regular defenseman in our league."

Source: Hawks continue Kane, Toews talks

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4
1:36
AM CT
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The Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are continuing to negotiate contract extensions and have not been delayed due to tagging space issues, according to a source on Friday night.

The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement does not permit teams to sign players to contract extensions which, when combined with their already committed salaries, would exceed the following season’s salary cap, which is set at the current cap limit of $69 million. Teams can sign players to extensions by using their current available cap space plus salaries to players who will become unrestricted and restricted free agents at the end of the season. The Blackhawks dealt with this issue while working to re-sign Kane, Toews and Duncan Keith to extensions in 2009.

The Blackhawks do not currently have any cap space for the 2014-15 season. They do have around $26 million of expiring contracts which they can devote to Kane’s and Toews’ contract extensions.

The Blackhawks are approximately $1.3 million over the cap for the upcoming season and will have to get under it before the season begins. If the Blackhawks trade someone who is set to become a free agent after the 2014-15 season, their tagging room will decrease.

The Blackhawks will also have to weigh whether they want to attempt to re-sign the eight other players who are set to become restricted and unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2015. Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and David Rundblad would become restricted free agents on that date, and Johnny Oduya, Peter Regin, Michal Rozsival and Brad Richards would be unrestricted free agents. Contract extensions given to those players before or during the season would also have to be created from the $26 million in expiring contracts.

Whether Kane and Toews ask for $9 million a season or somewhere closer to $12 million -- the number which they reportedly began the negotiations with -- can greatly impact whether the Blackhawks can work during the season to re-sign any of those other players, especially the 21-year-old Saad, who could demand $4-6 million per season in his next contract. Tuesday marked the first day Kane and Toews were eligible to sign extensions, and general manager Stan Bowman previously expressed hope that extensions could be done for the pair as early as then.

Bowman wouldn’t go into any details of negotiations with Kane’s and Toews’ agent, Pat Brisson, earlier in the week, but Bowman continued to be confident deals would be done for both players.

"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 Tuesday. "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. They agreed to five-year, $31.5 million contracts back then.

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, been to six consecutive playoffs 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 games.

Agent: No talks about trading Oduya

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
5:28
PM CT
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The Chicago Blackhawks are going to have to trade someone before the season begins to get under the salary cap.

The Blackhawks are currently $2,216,795 over the cap, according to CapGeek.com. That cap number has the Blackhawks with 14 forwards, including Teuvo Teravainen, on their active roster. If Teravainen began the season in the AHL, the Blackhawks would still be $1,322,628 over the cap.

Either way, the Blackhawks have to remove some salary.

The one name often tossed around this the offseason as possibly being on the market has been defenseman Johnny Oduya. He has one year left on his contract, and he’s set to make $3.375 million.

One person who doesn’t expect Oduya to be dealt is Oduya’s agent, Don Meehan of Newport Sports Management. Meehan said Thursday he hasn’t heard from the Blackhawks about possibly trading Oduya, who has a modified no-trade clause.

“No such discussions,” Meehan wrote in an email on Thursday. “They like him very much.”

Bowman helped create some space during the NHL draft by trading Brandon Bollig, who has a $1.25 cap hit, to the Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks then acquired Brad Richards, who will be paid $2 million next season.

Bowman wasn’t concerned about the Blackhawks’ cap situation after signing Richards on Tuesday.

“We have some ideas (on) what we’re going to do,” Bowman said on Tuesday. “That will play itself out here over the summer as we prepare for training camp. It’s not the forum to address what we’re going to do, but obviously we got ideas. We’ll certainly make it work.”

Teuvo's chances slim to start season in NHL

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
10:53
AM CT
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Teuvo Teravainen has stated he wants to begin the 2014-15 season with the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL.

"That's my goal to be with the Blackhawks next season, when the season starts," Teravainen said in April.

[+] EnlargeTeuvo Teravainen
Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty ImagesAfter signing Brad Richards, the Blackhawks can afford to be patient with Teuvo Teravainen.
The chances of that decreased when the Blackhawks signed Brad Richards earlier this week. Teravainen, the organization's top prospect, is going to have to mesmerize Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman in training camp, and even then, his chances would still likely be slim to begin the season in the NHL.

With Richards along with Jonathan Toews, Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger, the Blackhawks have a full house of capable centers. Even if Teravainen was switched to the wing, the Blackhawks don't possess an opening for him right now. The Blackhawks already have nine wings (Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell, Kris Versteeg, Jeremy Morin, Peter Regin, Ben Smith) signed for eight spots, and there's also a chance forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Brandon Mashinter could be in the mix for the NHL roster.

The reality is Teravainen is likely returning to where he ended last season, with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL. Bowman didn't come out and say that recently, but he and the Blackhawks have been very careful in their approach to Teravainen. They have said over and over that they don't want to rush him.

The last Blackhawks' prospect in a similar situation to Teravainen was Saad. The Blackhawks were weighing what to do with Saad to begin the 2013 season. He started the season in the NHL, but was a healthy scratch in the season opener. It wasn't until Daniel Carcillo suffered a severe injury in that first game that Saad, who was then 20, received a full-time NHL opportunity.

"We're very confident in [Teravainen's] potential and his future with the Blackhawks," Bowman said on Tuesday. "The one thing you have to be careful of with young players is not to put them in situations to fail. He's just 19 years old. He won't turn 20 until training camp. There's still many years ahead of him."

Bowman acknowledged acquiring Richards allows the Blackhawks even more flexibility and time with Teravainen. Training camp will give the Blackhawks a greater opportunity to assess where Teravainen is with his game. He also is expected to participate in the Blackhawks' prospect camp in July.

"We're going to see where he's at when he gets to training camp," Bowman said. "[Richards] obviously gives us an established player who has played many years in the NHL at an important position at center. Now we have some latitude with Teuvo. He's going to dictate as to when he's ready to go. We don't have to force anything.

"It's always nice when players make it known when they're ready to be here. When that happens, we always accommodate them. We've seen it before with young players. Some of them take half a year. Some of them take one year. Some of them are ready right out of the gate. We don't need to predict that one. We'll just let it play out and be patient with it."

Prior to signing Richards, Quenneville also said Teravainen's training camp would be important. Teravainen played in two preseason games and three regular-season games for Quenneville last season. In between, he played a full season for Jokerit in Finland's Liiga and was among the league's points leaders.

"I just think it's probably a good summer for him," Quenneville said of Teravainen on Friday. "He had a busy year. Transition and adaptation to the next level coming overseas and coming over to this league and coming over to the North American game is going to be a change for him. I'm sure he's going to grow. He's going to get stronger.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how he plays in camp. I would expect some progress. We liked what we saw last year at the beginning of the year. We'll see. He's going to make the decision for us in exactly where he's going to fit and where we're going to play him."

Blackhawks progressing on to-do list

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
12:49
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Blackhawks and their general manager, Stan Bowman, have already accomplished a lot in the NHL offseason. Here's a look at what they have done and what they still need to do:

What's done

1. Obtaining a second-line center: The Blackhawks couldn't have taken care of this any better. Considering their cap restraints and Teuvo Teravainen waiting in the wings, the Blackhawks found the perfect solution to their problem in Brad Richards. He's a skilled veteran center who wasn't concerned about money or the length of his contract and is focused solely on winning a Stanley Cup.

[+] EnlargeBrad Richards
Rebecca Taylor/Getty ImagesBrad Richards is an affordable solution to the Blackhawks' need for a second-line center.
2. Re-signing key restricted free agents: The Blackhawks re-signed Jeremy Morin, Antti Raanta and Ben Smith to two-year contracts, and they did so cheaply. Their three contracts combine for a $3.05 million cap hit per season. Considering the upside of all three players, that's a steal for the Blackhawks. If given a consistent chance in the lineup, Morin could be a 20-plus goal scorer. Smith displayed his versatility and consistency last season. He could also be the answer to replace Michal Handzus on the penalty kill. Raanta had some ups and downs in his first NHL season, but he should be more comfortable and consistent in the net in Year 2.

3. Fine-tune their roster: The Blackhawks re-signed Peter Regin, which should give them additional forward depth. They traded Brandon Bollig, which allowed them to clear some cap space. They also decided not to re-sign Handzus. They reportedly still haven't closed the door on Sheldon Brookbank.

4. Add an NHL-ready goaltender to the AHL: The Blackhawks accomplished that by signing Scott Darling to a one-year deal Tuesday. Darling was 13-6-2 with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage for the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL last season. He ranked second in the league with six shutouts. The Rockford IceHogs didn't have a goaltender who recorded a shutout last season. Darling will also give prospects Kent Simpson and Mac Carruth another year to develop.

5. Focus on the distant future in the draft: The Blackhawks weren't looking for any immediate impact players in the draft. Their first-round pick, Nick Schmaltz, may have the talent to leave college after a few years, but he's still a ways away from the NHL. They also drafted six other players who will either begin college in 2014 or 2015. Their other two draft picks are from Europe and will be given time to develop.

What still needs to be done

1. Re-sign Kane and Toews: Bowman fully expects to re-sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in the near future, and there's no reason to doubt him at this point. It could still happen as early as the next few days.

2. Shed more salary: The Blackhawks are currently $2,216,795 over the cap, according to capgeek.com. The Blackhawks can be 10 percent over the cap during the offseason. Bowman said they had some ideas how they could get under the cap, but he wouldn't disclose them Tuesday. Expect one or two more players to be traded for draft picks and/or prospects.

3. Continue to attempt to sign Kevin Hayes: The Blackhawks have until Aug. 15 to sign Hayes, their 2010 first-round pick. He's been eligible to sign since his college season ended in April. At this point, it's unlikely he'll sign. He wants to have the opportunity to play in the NHL immediately, and that's not possible with the Blackhawks now. They're too deep in the NHL, and there are a few AHL players who they could argue deserve more of an NHL chance than Hayes right now. If the Blackhawks don't sign him or trade his rights, they will get a compensatory second-round pick in the 2015 draft. Many believe Hayes will eventually sign with the Calgary Flames and join his former Boston College teammates Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold.

Hawks sign defenseman Cumiskey

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
12:25
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Blackhawks signed defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

Cumiskey, 27, spent the past two years playing for MODO in the Swedish Hockey League. He had four goals and 24 assists and was a minus-4 in 45 games last season. He was tied for fifth among defensemen in points.

Cumiskey played in the NHL and AHL prior to leaving for Sweden. He played in 132 career NHL games for the Colorado Avalanche and had nine goals and 26 assists from 2006-2011. He also has 19 goals and 62 assists in 153 career AHL games. He was originally selected by the Avalanche in the seventh round of the 2005 draft.

Cumiskey’s agent Ross Gurney of R.W.G. Sport Management said Wednesday that Cumiskey was looking for an opportunity to return to the NHL.

“It’s the best league in the world,” Gurney said in a phone interview. “That’s where he wants to be. He had good success in Colorado in the NHL as a young player, 21-24 years of age. We just got into a bit of a contract situation in Anaheim. He ended up in MODO for a couple of years and wanted to get back. He had several opportunities to choose from, all on two-ways and one one-way opportunity. When we looked at the Blackhawks’ opportunity, it made the most sense.”

Gurney believed Cumiskey benefited from his experience in Sweden.

“I think for Kyle a lot of it was an opportunity to just gain some confidence,” Gurney said. “He’s an exceptional skater. He was on the large ice and was able to hold the puck and keep possession of the puck and distribute the puck as well.”

Gurney said Cumiskey also understood the challenges of playing in the Blackhawks’ system. The Blackhawks already have seven defensemen signed in the NHL and have another handful of defensemen on the verge in the AHL.

“I think they’ve got one of the best D cores in the league, if not the best,” Gurney said. “The familiarity with Joel [Quenneville] from the Avs when Kyle was there when he was 21-24 helped. I think the Blackhawks’ European network watched him a lot and knew a lot about him. His style of game fits with the Blackhawks’ style.

“He feels he can break into the NHL. There are certainly players ahead of him. He’s going to have to beat somebody out. That’s up to him. He’s confident if he plays to his ability he can put pressure on them to make those decisions.”

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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