Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane

Hawks storylines (No. 15): Numbers game

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
10:10
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Powers By Scott Powers
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ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers counts down the days to the opening of Blackhawks training camp on Sept. 19 with a look at 20 storylines facing the team this season.

Here are some numbers to keep in mind as the season unfolds for the Blackhawks (all statistics were found on stats.hockeyanalysis.com or behindthenet.ca):

Kane's production with teammates


Nearly every center who found his way onto the Blackhawks roster last season got a chance to skate with Patrick Kane. Some had more success than others. Andrew Shaw clicked with Kane, and Kane had seven goals, seven assists and a 59.7 Corsi percentage during 197:05 of 5-on-5 ice time with Shaw. On the other hand, Kane struggled with Michal Handzus with one goal, seven assists and a 50.9 Corsi percentage while on the ice 310:16 with the veteran center. Kane's line to start this season is expected to include Brandon Saad and Brad Richards. Kane had seven goals, nine assists and a 56.3 Corsi percentage with Saad.

Puck possession


The Blackhawks have been a dominant puck-possession team over the past five seasons. They have ranked in the league's top-6 in Corsi percentage in 5-on-5 situations throughout that span. They were second with a 55.5 percentage last season, their highest percentage since being at 56.5 percent during the 2009-10 season.

Morin's potential

Jeremy Morin played in just 24 games last season, so his sample size isn't that large. But in that short span, he was statistically impressive. Morin led the Blackhawks with an average of 12.22 shots per 60 minutes, 1.421 goals per 60 minutes and 3.13 points per 60 minutes. If Morin gets some consistent ice time and a larger role this season, which is something Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville have mentioned, he may just be headed toward a breakout offensive season.

Defensive responsibility


One of the main reasons defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are often able to utilize their offensive abilities is because defensemen Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson are given more of the defensive load. Oduya and Hjalmarsson started less in the offensive zone than any of the Blackhawks' defensemen last year. Oduya started 48.6 percent in the offensive zone and Hjalmarsson was at 48.3 percent. To compare, Keith started 56.4 percent in the offensive zone and Seabrook was at 56.3, and defensemen Nick Leddy, Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank all started more than 60 percent of the time in the offensive zone.

Goals against


The Blackhawks held opponents to just 1.77 goals per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations during the 2013 season, best in the league. But aside from that season the Blackhawks have been an average defense team in recent years. They ranked 26th in the NHL with a 2.52 goals-against average in 2010-11 season, 26th with a 2.49 goals-against average in the 2011-12 season and were 15th with a 2.23 goals-against average last season.

Toews & Sharp

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp made each other better players last season. They had a 59.7 Corsi percentage in their 777.32 of ice time together. When apart, Toews dropped to a 57.5 Corsi percentage and Sharp dropped to 52.9. There's a good chance Sharp, Toews and Marian Hossa could be together on the top line again this season.

Fourth-line usage

Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith, the trio which was often the Blackhawks' fourth line last season, all ranked among the bottom seven players in the league in offensive zone start percentage. Bollig started in the offensive zone 11.4 percent, Kruger 13.4 percent and Smith 16.9. It will be interesting to see whether Quenneville uses his fourth line in such a defensive manner again. Kruger was on the fourth line the season before and saw more offensive zone starts. He was at 30.4 percent during the 2013 season.

Patrick Kane never worried about contract

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
6:26
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Strang By Katie Strang
ESPNChicago.com
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NEW YORK -- Patrick Kane admitted he's glad that both he and captain Jonathan Toews signed matching long-term extensions with the Chicago Blackhawks this summer, but said he was never too concerned that the deals would get done.

Kane, who will make an average of $10.5 million annually once the deal begins in 2015, said it was an interesting process to go through with his good friend and teammate; the two also share an agent, Pat Brisson.

"I don't think it was something I was ever worried about, to be honest with you," Kane told ESPN.com at the NHL media tour Monday in Manhattan. "Last year when the media started asking me about the contract situation, I thought it was kind of funny since there were two years left on our previous deals. We're in a good position now ... it's a great term, a great place to be, a great city and a great organization. We definitely feel fortunate with what we got."

Now that the two players are signed through 2022-23, they can turn their focus back on the upcoming season. The Blackhawks were just one goal shy of making it to the Stanley Cup finals last season, losing in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

As much as that stung, Kane said he still watched the Stanley Cup finals, but that it was hard to wrap his head around watching someone else win the Cup after he and his teammates were so close to being there themselves.

"It's obviously disappointing and surreal when you see someone else win the Stanley Cup," Kane said. "It's like it's not real and you're going through a dream. But I guess it's inevitable. It's gonna happen, right?"

Roenick sees big things for Kane, Toews

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
11:23
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Strang By Katie Strang
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Former Chicago Blackhawks star Jeremy Roenick remembers what it felt like to sign his first long-term deal. The pressure melted away, the sense of anxiety about contract negotiations dissipated and Roenick was allowed to channel all his energy onto the ice.

He suspects current Hawks superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who inked matching eight-year, $84 million deals this summer, will experience the same.

If that’s the case, watch out.

[+] EnlargeJeremy Roenick
J.D. Cuban/Getty ImagesFormer Chicago star Jeremy Roenick thinks the team's current dynamic duo is set up for success.
"When I signed my contract, the pressure that was released off of me was immense," Roenick told ESPN.com, detailing his thought process after the ordeal. "'Now I can play for my team. They took care of me, now I can take care of them.' It’s going to be really fun to watch [Kane and Toews] flourish and play with a free mind and confidence."

Getting the two players under contract until 2023 was a huge coup for a team that has won two Stanley Cup championships in the past five seasons and is among the select few for which the D-word -- dynasty -- can be thrown around in the salary-cap era.

"I think it was very important," said Roenick, who now works as an NHL analyst for NBC Sports. "Two quality players like that, most teams do not possess that luxury. Pittsburgh has [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin, and Anaheim has [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Corey] Perry, but [most teams] don’t really have those elite star players that can change the course of the game like they have."

Having those players to build around for years to come -- Kane and Toews are 25 and 26, respectively -- will ensure that Chicago is a perennial contender. In fact, Roenick sees no reason that Chicago won’t be the favorite once the preseason projections roll in for 2014-15.

"I think they’re one of the strongest-built teams in the league," said Roenick, who played eight seasons for the Blackhawks and scored 513 goals in his 21-year NHL career. "With them, they have amazing star power surrounded with good quality core players. The addition of Brad Richards coming over there as a role player who can help on the power play and be a good leader brings another experienced guy into a locker room of winners."

"I think the team has done a very good job of putting together the pieces, and with Kane and Toews signing these megadeals, they’ll be playing with so much confidence. There’s no competition between the two. They are both top-five players getting paid like it, and it shows the loyalty that the Blackhawks have become known for and [for] building championships."

That said, the Blackhawks will likely be forced to make some sort of trade to move salary out, given the cap constraints facing the club. According to Capgeek.com, the Hawks are $2.26 million over the cap for next year with 23 roster players.

That won’t be the only challenge facing the team, which will square off against stiff competition in what promises to be a stacked Central Division.

Last year’s race was a tight one, and Roenick expects that to be the case this season as well, with one team in particular with something to prove.

He still thinks the Blackhawks are the team to beat but anticipates it being a dogfight.

"I think the St. Louis Blues are gonna come out extremely angry and embarrassed about bowing out early," Roenick said about the Blues’ first-round exit last spring after losing a six-game series to the Hawks.

"I know how Hitch [Blues coach Ken Hitchcock] is, and those two teams are gonna be battling tooth and nail again. I don’t see anyone else really challenging either of those teams.”

Kane wins title, MVP in hometown league

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
2:14
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Patrick Kane has a knack for scoring clutch playoff goals regardless of the jersey he's wearing.

The Chicago Blackhawks star and Buffalo native led Milli Vanilli to the Fattey Hockey League title by scoring five of his team's 10 goals in back-to-back wins in a best-of-three series in his hometown earlier this week. He was named the championship MVP.

"It's basically the best Buffalo players," Nik Fattey, the league's founder and a Buffalo Sabres scout, explained of the league in a phone interview on Thursday. "It's not like a bar league. It's a competitive league. It's kind of like a Rucker Park sort of thing, NBA summer league."



Fattey said the 25-year-old Kane, a three-time All-Star who just signed an eight-year, $84 million contract extension with the Blackhawks this summer, has been playing in the league for the past five years.

"I think he loves hockey is what it comes down to," Fattey said. "It's where he was born and stuff. No different than a guy who returns to Toronto or Montreal to train and play. Again, lots of guys do play. It's a pretty high level.

"The game's changing. Guys used to take the summer off. They want to keep active now. Guys didn't skate in the past, now they do. It's been really good for the skating. It's games. It's not practicing. Where else can you get a skate and not just glide along? Plus, guys love scoring goals. I don't care where it is."

Kane, of course, does love to score goals. Fattey said the two-time Stanley Cup champion and 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner treated fans to a special one in the league's semifinals.

"In the semifinals, he scored just an unbelievable goal," Fattey said. "He came up on the wing and threw up a backhander and it got under the bar. Everyone got their oohs and aahs in."

Kane talked recently about what motivates him to play when he returns to Buffalo.

"When I go back home, it's exciting for me and my buddies to play hockey," Kane said Aug. 4 in Crestwood, Illinois. "It's something we do for fun. By no means if we're playing a game like that, do you think it's going to get out to the media or you think it's going to be a big story or anything like that. You're just going to have fun. That's exactly what we were doing.

"I love the game. I love playing it whether it's in the NHL or in a little men's league during the summer. It's obviously not all the same, but it's still the game of hockey. You can enjoy that way."

Four Blackhawks highly rated in NHL 15

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
5:30
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EA Sports released its top five players at each position throughout this past week for its upcoming NHL 15 release, and the Chicago Blackhawks' talent was again respected by the game’s makers.

Jonathan Toews tied with Pavel Datsyuk and Steven Stamkos for the second-highest-ranked center. All three players received a 93 overall rating and were just behind Sidney Crosby and his 96 rating.

EA Sports wrote of Toews, “Although the nickname Captain Serious holds up for Jonathan Toews, Mr. Everything is a better descriptor of what he actually brings to the ice every night. Whether it’s (95) rated Faceoffs, (93) Puck Control, or (89) Speed, Acceleration, and Agility – he really does do it all.”

Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa both landed in the game’s top-5 ratings for right wingers. Hossa was second with a 91 overall rating, and Kane was fourth with an 89 overall rating.

“Hossa might not have the same star power as the other players on this list, but make no mistake, he is arguably the best all-round right winger in the game,” EA Sports’ description included. “With five-star ratings in Puck Skills, Senses, Skating, and Defense – Hossa does it all.”

Kane’s offensive game was also shown some love.

“Kane possesses one of the highest skill sets in the entire league with five star Puck Skills, Shooting, Skating, and Senses,” the description included. “His Puck Skills are elite with (94) Passing and Puck Control, (95) Hand-Eye, and (96) Deking. The only thing lacking in his game is Physical ability – coming in at only two and a half stars.”

Duncan Keith finished second with a 92 overall rating behind Shea Weber's 93 rating among the game’s defenseman ratings.

“Last year’s Norris Trophy winner lacks that huge physical element to his game, but makes up for it with 5 star Puck Skills, Senses, Skating and Defense attributes,” the game’s description included.

The Blackhawks had six players in the game’s top-50 ratings last year, with Toews (92 rating) at No. 7, Keith (90) at No. 12, Hossa (89) at No. 24, Brent Seabrook (89) at No. 31, Kane (88) at No. 35 and Patrick Sharp (88) at No. 45.

NHL 15 will be released on Sept. 9.

Love of game still drives Hawks' Kane

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
4:36
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Patrick KaneScott Powers, ESPNChicago.com Patrick Kane unveiled a renovated locker room to kids at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood, Ill.
CRESTWOOD, Ill. -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is already an NHL veteran after seven seasons and he will soon enter his late 20s, but being around hockey still has a way of making him feel like a kid.

Kane especially felt that way Monday as he, along with Gatorade, unveiled a renovated locker room at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood, Ill. to 13- and 14-year-old players on the St. Jude Knights.

“I think the main thing for me is to come back and see the kids’ faces and see how excited they are,” Kane said. “Just walking in here and seeing them excited. It’s a special day for me just to come back and try to give back any way I can to the kids. St. Jude has a lot of hockey history and a lot of respect.

”[I remember from my childhood] it's just kind of surreal when you do meet a pro athlete that it’s actually happening. You look up to them like your role models and idols and probably something more than you probably should. It’s still exciting nonetheless, especially for young kids. Probably hits the heart most for me working with young kids whether they play hockey or not. It’s just exciting to see their faces and see their reaction when someone like yourself comes by and tries to give them any input or intake on how to help with anything. It’s special for me."

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Q feels fortunate Kane, Toews re-signed

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
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Count Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville among those ecstatic to have Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews re-signed to long-term contract extensions.

Toews
Kane
"It's great news for the organization, good news for the coaching staff, great news for the players and the fans and the team going forward," Quenneville said on "The Coach Q Show" on WGN-720 AM on Wednesday morning. "I think it's a great deal for everyone, and we're happy to have them.

"It benefits everybody. It says a lot about what kind of guys these guys are ... I guess the way they've gelled in the community and been a part of Chicago sports history in a short amount of time is special. I think everybody should take part of that responsibility. Hey, they're a part of it here.

"Certainly we're very happy Jonny and Kaner chose to stay here long term and be Blackhawks forever, which is unique in today's league, today's game, so we're very fortunate. We see a lot of good things go forward with these two guys."

The Blackhawks announced last week Kane and Toews each signed eight-year contract extensions which will run through the 2022-23 season. Each contract is for $84 million with an average annual salary of $10.5 million, according to a source. They previously agreed to a five-year, $31.5 million extension which will end after next season.

Quenneville has coached Kane and Toews for six of their seven seasons. Together, they have made six consecutive playoff appearances, been to four Western Conference finals and won two Stanley Cups.

Quenneville believes Kane and Toews have put themselves in a unique situation throughout their careers.

"I don't think I've seen a tandem like this almost like basically every step of the way been at the same level, the same impact on the team, the community, basically hand in hand being at the same place," Quenneville said. "Usually there's maybe a differential how people view their contributions. But it's amazing how the parallels of the two guys have been incredibly similar right down to their existence here going forward. Two of the greatest players in the game, and they're going to be moving together, very unique in today's world."

As good as Kane and Toews are on the same team, Quenneville still believes the Blackhawks are most dangerous when they're not on the ice together.

"As a coach, you've got two great players," Quenneville said. "You know you have a lot of offense coming in a lot of different areas. I still think they like playing with one another. As a coach, it's almost like we like you playing together, but spread out it makes us a much better team and it's nice to have lot of options as you go throughout the year and as you go into the playoffs."

Kane, Toews contract breakdown

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
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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
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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
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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.

Kane, Toews have Hawks positioned well

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
12:45
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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.

Agent: Kane, Toews contract talks ongoing

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:53
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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.

Source: Hawks continue Kane, Toews talks

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4
1:36
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
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.

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.

Negotiations ongoing for Kane, Toews

July, 1, 2014
Jul 1
6:05
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Blackhawks made a splash with the signing of Brad Richards on Tuesday, but their biggest announcement is still yet to come.

Toews
Kane
The Blackhawks are still expected to sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to long-term extensions sometime in the near future.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman had hoped to do so as early as Tuesday, but that seemed unlikely as they weren't announced by the early evening. Bowman didn't waver Tuesday in his confidence the deals will be done soon.

“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.”

Tuesday marked the first day Kane and Toews could re-sign with the Blackhawks. Their current contracts don’t expire until after the 2014-15 season. Both players signed five-year, $31.5 million contracts in 2009.

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.

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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