Entering the final year of their contracts, it was already known that the Chicago Blackhawks want to have new deals for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on July 1. We're now starting to get an idea as to how much they will cost.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, Chicago's two superstars initially asked for contracts that would pay them around $12 million per year each. Even though they likely will not get that much, McKenzie reports that deals worth more than $10 million per year are still very possible.
So, in other words, the days of Kane and Toews being bargains against the salary cap are pretty much over. The two players signed matching five-year, $31.5 million contracts that kicked in before the 2010-11 season and they both easily outperformed them. Considering how productive they were and how cap-friendly their contracts were they might have been two of the biggest steals in the NHL.
And now they're going to cash in. As the cornerstones of a franchise that has appeared in four conference finals and won two Stanley Cups over the past six years, Toews and Kane have certainly earned it.
With the new CBA, contracts that can't exceed eight years. Rising salary cap deals like this could become the norm for players like Kane and Toews.
As of now, the largest salary cap hit in the NHL belongs to Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin at $9.5 million. Several players, including Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, have contracts signed under the previous CBA that carry single-year salaries over $10 million but have a lower cap hit because of the way they were able to be formed over longer-term deals.
Chicago already has $42 million in cap space committed to 10 players for the 2015-16 season. McKenzie reports that the cap could be as high as $75 million by that time. Barring any other roster moves, matching $10 million per year contracts for Kane and Toews would leave the team with $13 million to fill out the remaining 13 roster spots.