Various reports have suggested the Chicago Blackhawks are close to resigning pending restricted free agents Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. The rumoured cap hit for both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is around $6 Million per season (for 4-5 years) while Duncan Keith’s could be lower but on a longer term.
It has been speculated the signing (and subsequent raises) of these three stars will cripple Chicago’s ability to resign depth players or keep existing ones. Players like Andrew Ladd, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharp could be gone after this season. (These players are purely speculation on my part).
Are Kane and Toews worth it?
I’m as big a fan of the Blackhawks as anyone, but I have to ask the question: Are Kane and Toews worth $6 Million per season? If ever there was a time to question paying for potential, here it is. I get Toews is the captain and from all accounts a terrific leader. I agree Kane is an electrifying player. But $6 Million each on a team that has already overpaid for Cristobal Huet and Brian Campbell? Yikes.
Let’s look at the breakdown for Kane and Toews:
Patrick Kane – 20 years old, 2007-2008 Rookie of the Year
While Kane is one of the best young dynamic stars in the league, his best career year saw him produce 72 points. He’s on pace to set career highs in goals and points this season; probably around 80-85 points. Kane has a Calder Trophy to his name and one strong playoff run from last season, but I’d still say he’s relatively unproven in the NHL.
Jonathan Toews – 21 years old, team captain
Toews has been billed as the next Steve Yzerman or Joe Sakic. His stats aren’t quite as good as Kane’s, averaging slightly less points per game. He also missed some games to injuries in his first and third NHL seasons. I like some of the intangibles Toews brings – he’s always in good position and plays well defensively. Despite a good playoff run with Chicago last season, I’d have to say Toews is unproven in the NHL, too.
Both Kane and Toews are excellent players, don’t get me wrong. $6 Million each seems steep for players with less than three full years of experience. A small part of me was hoping they’d resign for less than ‘open market value’ to help the Hawks with their cap issues and allow room for other signings/resignings. If these contracts don’t cripple Chicago, it’s awfully close.
The Chicago Blackhawks already have $43 Million committed to 14 players next season. $12 Million for Kane and Toews (if rumored reports are accurate) put the Hawks payroll to $55 Million… this year’s NHL cap is $56.8 Million. The 2010-2011 cap expected to stay at$56.8 Million or potentially drop. And Duncan Keith’s contract still isn’t in the picture. Neither are a few other key Hawks. $2 Million or less doesn’t go too far in the NHL these days.
If you didn’t think the rumoured Kane and Toews contracts were crippling before, do you now?
Stay classy, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.