Paydays coming for pending finals FAs

Updated: June 14, 2013, 12:14 AM ET
By Craig Custance

CHICAGO -- It was earlier in the playoffs and Marian Hossa was chatting on the morning of a game about one of the lessons he learned during the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win in 2010. After that season, Chicago had to dismantle the team to squeeze rising salaries under the salary cap.

Those Blackhawks seized the opportunity they had, knowing there's no guarantee another chance that good would come again. It's an attitude that both the Boston Bruins and Blackhawks need to have as the 2013 Stanley Cup finals begin tonight.

"When you have a good chance and you have something special in the room, you try to work with that all the way," Hossa said. "You don't know next year what can happen."

There likely won't be any dramatic disassembling of either the Blackhawks or Bruins next season, but strong playoff performances raise the demand for players who prove they can rise to the occasion in the postseason. It makes them harder to keep when it comes time to sit down and negotiate a deal.

The success of Chicago's pending unrestricted free agent Bryan Bickell is well-documented.

Boston's UFA-to-be Nathan Horton has been just as impressive.