Rewind to four months ago and all anyone wanted to talk about was – How in the world will the Blackahwks manage to re-sign Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith?
Nevermind that all three would be restricted free agents or that Blackhawk management had already designated them as their chief core players. “IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!” was all you heard.
Well, it appears the impossible is on the verge of becoming a reality. Now, of course, the question turns from “How do they keep their big 3?” to “How are they going to keep everyone together?”
My reply to that is the same as it was last year when questions first started popping up about the impending restricted free agency for Kane, Toews, and Keith — Who cares?
A core of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook instantly gives the Hawks a championship window for at least the next 6 years. This doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to win a championship. All it does is give them a front line not many other teams can compete with.
The hardest part -finding elite talent- appears to be over once these deals are officially announced. Now what remains is finding the right mix of secondary scorers and role players all while finding room under the salary cap.
If you trust your scouting department, then players with an Andrew Ladd or Ben Eager skill set shouldn’t be too difficult to find. While we’ve all grown accustomed to these players, the bottom line is, they’re all pretty much expendable.
As far as what the big three’s contracts will look like, TSN’s Bob McKenzie explains:
Kane and Toews are believed to be getting five-year extensions, with each of them worth in excess of $6 million per year. An announcement on those two deals appears to be imminent.
Keith’s deal is said to be more complicated, perhaps as long as 13 years, and worth less than what the Hawks will pay their two star forwards, which is to suggest it will likely average less than $6 million per year.
There’s no use in getting worked up over the contract figures or cap hits until the actual numbers do come out, but the term of the deals appear to be accurate.
Assuming all goes to plan, Kane and Toews will get their lifetime contracts when this deal expires. A 5 or 6 year deal would take them to the renegotiating table as they’re entering their respective primes at 26 or 27 years old.
Duncan Keith, on the other hand, will have his lifetime contract. Before anything really critical is discussed about the length of Keith’s contract, the cap hit has to be known. If a 13-year deal allows Keith’s cap hit to be $4 million dollars or less, it completely changes the argument as opposed to, say, a 13-year contract that has a $6 million cap hit.
So until these deals are finally announced, all we can do is wait and wonder.