Hawks GM: Not worried about price
Kane and Toews asked for a reported $12 million each per season when negotiations recently began between Bowman and their agent, Pat Brisson. A source told ESPN NHL Insider Craig Custance that Kane and Toews will negotiate their contracts to ensure the Blackhawks can afford other quality players and be a Stanley Cup contender for the future.
"We're not looking at the number or whether it's above or below a certain point," Bowman said at the NHL draft on Saturday. "We're just looking to continue to have two of the best players in the world on our team. I think that's the one thing you can't lose sight of.
"I look at it as an incredible thing. We got these two great players who are going to be in Chicago. Regardless of what the [salary] number is, there's 29 other teams that would be happy to be in our spot where they've got two star players. They've accomplished a lot already, and they're in their mid-20s. It's a great position. We're fortunate more than anything to have both of them on our team."
Bowman continued to be confident the Blackhawks would sign both players and hoped to do so as early as July 1, the first day they're eligible to sign new contracts. Their current contracts expire after the 2014-15 season.
Bowman was optimistic both players would sign for the same amount and at the same time they did when they agreed to contract extensions in 2009. Both players signed five-year, $31.5 million contracts then.
"Yeah, the timing I think is important," Bowman said. "They've talked about that. They've been teammates since they came into the league together. They were drafted a year apart, but they came in together. Everything has sort of been in tandem ever since they started their first game together. I think it would only be fitting to get the contracts finished and announced at the same time."
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.