There was never a doubt that it was going to happen, but the Blackhawks officially announced todaythat both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have agreed to eight-year contract extensions that will keep both in Chicago through the 2022-23 season.
The new deals come with an annual cap hit of $10.5 million per season, though that won’t start until the 2015-16 season, this year. Either way, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are now the highest-paid players in NHL history.
Welcome to The Chicago Homer’s Mailbag. It runs once a week unless it doesn’t, and in it I answer questions from readers via Twitter or email. The questions can be about any damn thing you please, and there likely isn’t a question I won’t answer. There may be questions I can’t answer, but I’ll try.
If you’d like to submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag it’s pretty simple. Either ask the question on Twitter using the #AskTCH hashtag — as long as you use the hashtag I will see it — or send an email to TCHMailbag@gmail.com.
And now that you know how to do it, let’s get to the this week’s questions.
Once Ryan Kesler was traded to Anaheim it seemed obvious that the Blackhawks were going to look for a bargain center on the free agent market. Sure, Jason Spezza was there to be had if they truly wanted him, but he also brought with him a $7 million cap hit that would require a lot of roster shuffling.
On Tuesday, the first day of NHL free agency, the Blackhawks found a solution that just made too much sense not to do.
The Blackhawks biggest priority this summer is to sign both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to contract extensions. Both players have one year remaining on their current deals with both carrying a cap hit of $6.3 million.
As I’ve stated here a few times since the Blackhawks season came to an end, I expect changes to be made to the roster next season. Somebody that’s been considered a part of the core — be it Patrick Sharp or Brent Seabrook — is going to be moved via trade. I also think that the Blackhawks will address their need for a second center this summer, and it’s possible that a trade could be the way to go about doing so.
Last week I wrote about my dream scenario of the Blackhawks getting Ryan Kesler from the Canucks, but he’s not the only option out there. In fact, Pierre McGuire stepped out from that spot between the Los Angeles and New York benches during the Stanley Cup Final to do a radio interview Tuesday, and he believes the Hawks will look west for a new center, but it won’t be Ryan Kesler.
While it hasn’t quite reached the level of the Bears forever searching for a quarterback before trading for Jay Cutler, it feels like the Blackhawks have been trying and failing to land a second center behind Jonathan Toews for years now. Of course, unlike the Bears, the Blackhawks quest hasn’t kept them from winning, though I suppose that second-line centers aren’t as important as quarterbacks.
Tonight the Stanley Cup Final begins and the Blackhawks aren’t in it. That means the offseason has officially begun for Stan Bowman, and there will be changes made to the roster before next season kicks off. What those changes will be, we don’t really know just yet.