Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Corey Perry signed an eight year, $69 million contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks. That’s all well and good for the Ducks, who signed Ryan Getzlaf to a similar contract, but it’s also a signal to the other 29 teams that their star players are going start pointing to Perry’s contract when negotiating their own extensions.
For the Chicago Blackhawks, this means their two biggest stars could be doing that. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have identical five year extensions, signed in 2009 when they were at the end of their entry-level contracts. They’ve since won a Stanley Cup and could do so again this season (along with any other awards that could come their way). This raises their value to the team, and there’s no doubt that their agent – they’re represented by the same one – will be using Perry’s contract to prove his point when their contracts run out in two years.
But the Blackhawks organization has a bit of a problem with those potential extensions. Right now, they need to sign four of their key players this summer: Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger. All of them have been valuable this season, and general manager Stan Bowman won’t want to let them go. Their six core players – Toews, Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa – each make at least five million dollars. Combine this with the fact that the salary cap will be shrinking from $70 million to $64 million with annual increases based on revenues. Bowman needs to think about the next two seasons when making those four offers.
Do Toews and Kane deserve a raise? Definitely. Will their extensions trigger a roster purge akin to the one the Blackhawks had in 2010? Hopefully not. But as we saw in that Stanley Cup summer, anything can happen between now and 2015.