Over the last few weeks, the Chicago Blackhawks have been among the most active teams in the league, in terms of locking up talent for the future. With a clearly defined core group among them, the Hawks were able to get a couple of impending free agents locked up a year early.
Both Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford were signed to long term deals, as both were about to hit the market as free agents. Hjammer was going into the last year of his four-year deal before inking a new deal for five, while Crawford was officially recognized as the franchise’s goaltender of the future, signing for the next six.
Regardless of what you may think of either deal, there’s no question what the concern was for many folks outside of the organization following the extension for each. With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane up for contract extensions next summer, many wondered if their status with the club moving forward could be in question.
According to Stan Bowman, that’s not at all the case. Bowman told the Hawks’ website:
“Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will be here forever,” Bowman told the team website. “I can’t predict what the salary cap will be in the near future, but I can tell you that Jonathan and Patrick will be on this team. Those two players put the Blackhawks back on the map, they’re up in a couple years, and whatever the numbers are, we’ll figure out the details. The notion that the money we’re spending now will affect our ability to keep Jonathan and Kane … it’s a non-issue. They will be here no matter what.”
At this point, it’s unreasonable for any Blackhawks fan to question what Stan Bowman is doing as general manager. He’s proven time and time again to know when to sign players long term, and know when to make the shrewd business move and maybe cut or trade a player who is a fan favorite.
The salary cap is going up. The Blackhawks will have a year to worry about their extensions, but will likely begin negotiations very early on in the summer. It’d be a complete shock to see these two without fresh new contracts in hand by next July. At this point, there is no reason at all to worry about the status of Chicago’s two young superstars.