Blackhawks building for the long term

September, 4, 2013
9/04/13
12:05
PM CT
The Chicago Blackhawks have their team and they’re making a run at becoming a dynasty with it.

After having to dissolve a large portion of the 2010 Stanley Cup team due to salary cap restraints, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is doing his best to keep nearly everyone together for years to come after their latest Cup win.

The Blackhawks will now have at least 14 players, including seven forwards, six defensemen and one goaltender, from last season’s Stanley Cup roster together over the next two seasons, and that number will likely grow with Andrew Shaw and Ben Smith among the group of upcoming restricted free agents.


Bowman took care of contract extensions for goaltender Corey Crawford and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who were set to become unrestricted free agents after the 2013-14 season, this week. The only other unrestricted free agents for after this season will be Brandon Bollig, Sheldon Brookbank, Michal Handzus and Nikolai Khabibulin.

“It’s a little different than the last time we won in 2010 when pretty much half the team got split up,” Hjalmarsson said on Wednesday. “Now we still got a lot of guys left here from last year, so we can’t really complain about anything. We pretty much have the same team.”

Bowman is looking well beyond the next two seasons, too. He still has to deal with the substantial task of re-signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who will both become unrestricted free agents after the 2014-15 season, but he has laid the groundwork for a team built for the long haul.

“It’s better to have a lot of good players on your team than searching for them,” Bowman said on Wednesday. “I got a lot of confidence in the players we have committed to. They have proven they can win. They are winners.”

Here are the key players signed through at least the 2015-16 season:

Defenseman Brent Seabrook -- Signed through 2015-16
Forward Patrick Sharp -- Signed through 2016-17
Forward Bryan Bickell -- Signed through 2016-17
Forward Teuvo Teravainen -- Signed through 2016-17 (would be 2015-16 if he plays 10 regular-season games this season)
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson -- Signed through 2018-19
Goaltender Corey Crawford -- Signed through 2019-20
Forward Marian Hossa -- Signed through the 2020-21
Defenseman Duncan Keith -- Signed through 2022-23

The Blackhawks also have 2011 first-round picks Mark McNeil and Phillip Danault signed through the 2015-16 season. Both are expected to figure into the Blackhawks’ future plans.

Aside from Kane and Toews, Bowman will have to deal with mostly restricted free agents in the next few seasons. One would assume re-signing Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad would have to be priorities for Bowman going forward.

Here are some notable contracts Bowman will have to deal with in the next couple years:

Forward Andrew Shaw – Restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season
Forward Ben Smith -- Restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season
Forward Jimmy Hayes – Restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season
Forward Jeremy Morin – Restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season
Forward Brandon Pirri -- Restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season
Defenseman Dylan Olsen -- Restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season
Goaltender Antti Raanta -- Restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season
Defenseman Johnny Oduya -- Unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season
Defenseman Michal Rozsival -- Unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season
Forward Brandon Saad -- Restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season
Forward Marcus Kruger -- Restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season
Defenseman Nick Leddy -- Restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season
Defenseman Ryan Stanton -- Restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season
Defenseman Adam Clendening -- Restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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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