(Photo: Michael Jarecki/Sun-Times Media)

Chicago Blackhawks’ dynamite duo, Captain Jonathan Toews and forward Patrick Kane, have extended their contracts with the team for another eight years, the maximum permitted in the post-lockout era.

Keeping Toews and Kane forever has been General Manager Stan Bowman’s biggest post-season priority. The two had signed through 2014-2015 with $6.3 million each, pretty low for players of their caliber.

Their contracts Wednesday were extended eight years–taking them to the 2022-2023 seasons. Media is reporting a $10.5 million cap hit for each, but further details will be formally released in a press conference at the United Center next week. Negotiations began a couple weeks ago, with an original asking price of $12 million each.

“Jonathan and Patrick have become cornerstones of this franchise during their time in Chicago,” Bowman said in a statement. “We are excited to ensure they will continue to lead our organization for years to come.”

Keeping the Captain

Toews, 26, has led the team to two Stanley Cup victories (2010 against Philadelphia and 2013 against Boston) since becoming the franchise’s youngest captain (the NHL’s third-youngest) at just 20 years old in 2008. He was drafted third overall in 2006. In his first season, 2007-2008, Toews was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy for the league’s best rookie. He was the second-youngest player to win the playoff MVP Conn Smythe Trophy following the team’s 2010 win–the Blackhawks’ first Cup in 49 years. In 2011 and 2014, Toews was a finalist for Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive forward in the league. He won the award in 2013. He was also a finalist for this year’s Messier Leadership Award.

He was named to the NHL’s All-Star roster in 2009, 2011, and 2012 and the Second All-Star Team following the 2013 run. In addition to all of this hardware, the Winnipeg, Manitoba native has two gold medals for Team Canada in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. He earned a gold medal in 2007 and a silver in 2008 representing Canada in the World Championships. He brought home gold medals in 2006 and 2007 in the World Junior Championships. In his two seasons with the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, Toews reached the NCAA Frozen Four twice, recording 85 points in 76 games.

As a professional, Toews has 195 goals and 245 assists in 484 regular season games since joining the Blackhawks in 2007. He has 29 goals and 52 career postseason games, ranking sixth in franchise history–seventh in assists and ninth in goals. He leads the team with 10 postseason game-winning goals.

 

 

Toews shares fifth on the franchise’s all-time list in game-winning goals (six), is 20th in goals, 22nd in points and is tied for 27th in assists. He has recorded 81 points (29g, 52a) in 94 career postseason games with the Blackhawks, ranking sixth in franchise history in playoff points, seventh in assists and ninth in goals. He is also the all-time franchise leader with 10 postseason game-winning goals.

“I could not be more grateful for the amazing moments and opportunities I’ve been given by the Chicago Blackhawks. There’s no organization in sports that cares more about the overall experience of their fans and the success of their players,” Toews said. “To have the chance to continue with this amazing group of teammates and people throughout the organization is an incredible honor. There’s nothing we want more as players than to continue to win Stanley Cups for the best hockey fans on the planet.”

The Blackhawks have nicknamed him Captain Serious, not just because he is seriously skilled, which he undoubtedly isInstead, the moniker comes from his focus, determination, and leadership on and off the ice. And, maybe, for a little playful ribbing by teammates like Patrick Sharp.

 

 

 

Kane’s Bang for the Buck

Known less for being serious, but also commended for contributions to the team, Kane has quite the resume for his young age, 25, as well.

He has a reputation for being clutch, especially since scoring the 2010 Stanley Cup Final series-winning goal. He took home the Conn Smythe Trophy following the 2013 Stanley Cup win.

The Buffalo, N.Y. native was drafted first overall in 2008 and won the Calder Memorial Trophy for that year as well as being selected for the All-Rookie team.

Kane has helped the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cup championships, scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy following the 2013 title. He was a finalist for the 2013 Lady Byng Trophy. Kane captured the 2008 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year and has been selected to participate in the NHL All-Star Game three times: 2009, 2011 and 2012. Kane was also selected as an NHL First-Team All-Star in 2010 and named to the All-Rookie Team in 2008.

In his 515 regular season games as a Blackhawk, Kane has 178 goals and 315 assists, ranking him 12th in assists, 15th in points and 21st in goals for the franchise. He also ranks 11th for tallying 30 game-winning goals. In the postseason, Kane has 37 goals and 54 assists in 93 games–fifth in team history in points and goals, and sixth in assists. He’s tied for second with two playoff hat tricks and takes third with seven postseason game-winning scores.

He has trademark fast hands.

Kane took home a silver medal for the U.S. Men’s team for the 2010 Winter Olympics and appeared in both the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2008 World Championships. He took home a bronze at the 2007 World Juniors.

Before being drafted, he played one season of junior hockey for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights in 2006-2007, when he was named the OHL Rookie of the Year and selected for the OHL All-Star and All-Rookie Teams. He had an OHL-leading 62 goals and 83 assists in 58 games. From 2004-2006, he played with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., according to the Blackhawks’ team page.

“It’s great to be able to continue my career in Chicago. Playing with the best organization in sports and the best fans in the game is a blessing,” Kane said. “Since I was drafted by the Blackhawks, the people of Chicago have really embraced me and treated me with nothing but respect. I look forward to many more years of success with the Blackhawks.”

Where They Sit with Cap Hits

The two will continue their $6.5 million salaries with $6.3 million cap hits for the 2014-2015 season, with the increase coming in 2015-2016. Despite their accolades, they don’t rank in the top 25 for salaries or cap hits next year, according to spotrac.com.

Leading the league in cap hits is Alexander Ovechkin with $9.53 million. He led the league in regular season goals with 51, but was a -35 (884th) and the team didn’t make playoffs last season. The next two are with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby was signed with a cap hit of $8.7 million through 2024-2025, and Evgeni Malkin at $9.5 million through 2021-2022 before the lockout contract restrictions.

There’s no doubt Kane and Toews deserve a raise.  There are expectations for the cap to grow, especially with Canadian TV’s help, which will give the team mobility with its roster for upcoming seasons.

The Windy City is blessed to have eight more years of these highly-skilled wingmen.

“The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago,” said Chairman Rocky Wirtz. “We are excited for our future and proud that they will continue to be a part of that commitment and success for years to come.”

 

 

And, while the duo’s cap hit jump from $6.3 million this upcoming season to $10.5 million the following and beyond will likely mean some serious roster adjustments (I’ll make some suggestions in a future post) starting next year, Chicago can celebrate a bit for now. The city has gotten pretty good at that in the past few years.

blackhawks-parade(Photo: Fansided.com)

 

Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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