Skip to content

Toews & Kane's new deals may be massive, but they're worth those dollars and more

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got paid, as they were always going to do. It’s pretty cool that two people who seem totally different can be worth the same dollar figure to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jonathan Toews: tall and dark at 6’2” and 210 pounds, 26-years-old, stone-faced and serious, plays center, a defensive superstar who collects a good number of points around the crease: $10.5 million per for eight years.

Patrick Kane: small and light at 5’11” (apparently measured while in heels) and 180 pounds, 25-years-old, light-hearted fun-lover, plays wing, always has offense on the brain and collects points with dazzling vision, stick skills and speed: $10.5 million per for eight years.

Some notes on these two massive contracts:

* Toews and Kane are both deserving, and worth, those cap figures. They’ve both proven you can win with them at the core of a team by winning two Stanley Cups. One’s an elite point getter, and one’s elite going both ways. They will be 33 and 34 respectively when the deals end. With today’s fitness training, they’ll still be contributors in 2022-23.

* James Mirtle suggests the salary cap in 2015-16 should be $75 million. In 2007-08, Brad Richards contract ate up 16% of his teams’ then-$50 million salary cap. These will be 14% when they begin, and look better with every year. Again: that’s not that unreasonable.

* Those $10.5 million cap hits both surpass Alex Ovechkin’s $9,538,462 million as the league’s highest. Remember when Getzlaf and Perry signed for cap hits just on either side of $8.5 mill? Those suddenly look a lot more reasonable.

* Nine other players are schedule to make more than $10 million dollars next season (real dollars, not cap hits) thanks to previous contracts, so it’s not like they shattered some $10 million ceiling or something. Those names: Weber, Crosby, Parise, Suter, Lundqvist, Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Giroux, Kessel. “Toews” and “Kane” fit in there nicely.

* The point being made by many today: like in basketball with players like Lebron James, top NHL players are underpaid. As Tyler Dellow pointed out on Twitter, Jaromir Jagr and Peter Forsberg both made $11 million in 2003-04. A decade later, revenues have almost doubled, yet the top dogs make no more money. They’re worth it, both in what they provide on the ice (wins!) and marketing value, but instead the salary cap bloats the paychecks of lesser, more average players instead.

The nut of it

The Blackhawks didn’t do anything ridiculous here, but at the same time, they aren’t without risk. Long-term deals always come with that because life is unpredictable, and because players - particularly offensive players - decline as they get into their late 20s and early 30s.

But Toews and Kane ushered in a new era of Blackhawks hockey after some rough years. They rejuvenated the fanbase, won Cups, and became the faces of the franchise. The Blackhawks were in no position to just wave goodbye come the end of next year, and given what they’d get on the open market (I could see them getting another million each per year as UFAs), they had to go at least this high.

Because this puts them perilously close to the salary cap, you might see some good players exiled from Chicago in the short-term - maybe Patrick Sharp, maybe Brent Seabrook, who knows. But that’s part of the deal. The team’s success in the near future will rely heavily on their young (cheap) talent contributing on their entry-level contracts (a la Brandon Saad) as they have during their recent half-decade run of success, and that’s just fine. It’s a good thing to constantly be a couple of blossoming rookies away from Cup contention.

By signing these deals, that’s where the Blackhawks leave themselves. They’re by no means guaranteed to be great over the length of the contracts, but at least they’ve given themselves a fair chance to remain contenders with two of the best players in hockey at the height of their collective powers.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox