The Chicago Blackhawks were one of the NHL’s best teams yet again, and that is in large part due to having both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the roster. Both players will become UFA’s after the 2014-2015 season, and both will be looking for big deals.
Winning in the NHL is about having a core group of players that can grow and mature alongside each other, Chicago has had the great fortune of watching that happen over the past four seasons. Kane and Toews both signed identical contracts back in 2009 that carried a cap hit of $6.3 million a year. The NHL’s salary cap is expected to be around $71 million next season, and according to CapGeek the Blackhawks are carrying $66.4 million in contracts into next season.
That brings up the question; can the Blackhawks afford to sign both Kane and Toews? If you are a Blackhawks fan you will say of course we can, However if you are looking into the future do you need to sign them both? I’m not so sure you do. If forced to make a choice I would take Toews over Kane at this point in their careers. Toews is the captain and I believe the less streaky player. As we just saw during the Playoffs Kane can go silent for stretches; while uncommon it deserves to be brought up.
Both players are top-level talent and together on the same team make for a very dangerous combination. I’m just suggesting that the Blackhawks explore all options before investing what could be near $8 million per player over what I would expect to be at least a six-year deal if not longer. Kane is 25 years-old, and Toews is 26 years-old, in reality if they go for the big contract it is their career contract.
The Blackhawks have talent in Rockford and I’m guessing they have some kids in college waiting for a chance to prove they can play. Maybe trying to sign Kane and Toews to a bridge deal may be the smartest move. That would give both players and team a chance to reevaluate everything three-four years. Honestly there really is no wrong answer here; it’s all about doing what’s best for the franchise. But keep in mind both players would bring a bounty of young talent and draft pick back to the Blackhawks whenever the time come to move one of these star players.