General manager Stan Bowman has made it clear that his top priority this summer is to sign Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to long-term contract extensions. And he isn’t wasting any time. With one year left on their matching deals, the two Blackhawks superstars are eligible to sign new deals July 1. And Bowman and Pat Brisson — the agent for Toews and Kane — plan to have the deals done by then. “That’s been our No. 1 objective all along,” Bowman said Wednesday after the league’s GM meeting. “And I’m expecting to meet that.” Of course, locking up Toews and Kane is a foregone conclusion. There’s still plenty of intrigue surrounding the Hawks’ roster beyond those two. Wednesday’s meeting marked the start of the short but busy hot-stove season for the NHL. Potential deals are broached at the meeting, then pick up in earnest the next couple of weeks until it all comes to a head at the NHL draft (June 27-28 in Philadelphia), when many deals occur. For the Hawks, much of the intrigue — as always — revolves around the second-line center position, which was largely a black hole for the Hawks this season, hindering the dynamic Kane at times. While the team’s long-term hope is that Finnish prospect Teuvo Teravainen will be the man in the middle for Brandon Saad and Kane, and while Andrew Shaw had instant chemistry with the two in the conference final, Bowman said trading or signing a center is an option. Big names such as San Jose’s Joe Thornton and Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler are on the market but would command a major package of prospects and maybe even established stars in return. Colorado’s Paul Stastny is a free agent, but in a weak pool, he likely will be asking for more than $5 million a season.
Bowman plans to have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane signed by July 1
Chicago Sun-Times | Jun 12