At one point during negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement during the 2012 lockout, a juncture during which things weren’t looking particularly good, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly outlined the league’s insistence on limiting contracts to five years and called it, “the hill we will die on.”
Everyone knows you never end a sentence in a preposition – the correct way to say it would have been, “It’s the hill on which we will die” – and you don’t make extreme statements during negotiations that you’re going to later have to retract. The NHL did not get its five-year contract limit and it didn’t die on any hill. Read more
Bobby Hull has a statue outside the United Center in Chicago and he won only one Stanley Cup for 15 years with the franchise. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have won two each in less than half the time. And by signing identical eight-year, $84 million deals, there’s a good chance they’ll be adding more silverware to their portfolios in the coming years.
So logic would dictate that both Kane and Toews will be bronzed themselves someday. And if they don’t get their own likenesses on Madison Avenue, they can take comfort in the fact that they’ll have enough money to buy a plot of land outside the arena and erect their own statues. Read more
The Chicago Blackhawks got out well ahead of any speculation in regards to the futures of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews beyond next season. The two Hawks stars were entering the final year of their contracts and would have been eligible for UFA status next summer. No more.
The leaders and lifeblood of one of the NHL’s two top contenders both signed eight-year extensions that will come with cap hits of $10.5 million. They are the biggest, defining contracts of the post-2013 lockout so far, where you can’t “circumvent” the salary cap by tacking on significantly lower-salaried years at the end of contracts.
The $10.5 million the two stars will make against the salary cap starting in 2015-16 will be the highest cap hits in the NHL, surpassing Alex Ovechkin’s $9.538 million from a deal he signed before the 2008-09 season. So, a new standard has been set in regards to how much money star players will make against the salary cap. Next summer, when Steven Stamkos can start negotiating his extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning, we can expect his cap hit to land around this number. Perhaps even more, considering he’ll have a higher salary cap to negotiate under. Read more
Pass the Advil, please. File this story under things that hurt the brain, like watching Inception hung over.
Last week, three hockey players were robbed in the garage of the Chicago Blackhawks’ practice facility, Johnny’s Ice House. Three men approached the players, two carrying guns, and one of the players was pistol-whipped before the players turned over their wallets and keys. A nasty, unfortunate thing to happen at any arena, right? Right.
Enter another regular player at the Hawks’ facility, Tim O’Shea. He wasn’t a victim of the robbery but, seeing he is a living, breathing human and has conscious thought, he found it disquieting that players were attacked at his arena. He expressed concern to the facility’s GM, Kevin Rosenquist, about safety going forward. Rosenquist responded with an email saying Johnny’s Ice House was taking the matter seriously and working with police to apprehend the robbers. He also told O’Shea:
“As far as your concerns with safety it is the city of Chicago and these things happen all over the place. It is unfortunate but true. If you or your friends are questioning your association with the league due to safety concerns then I would suggest that perhaps the city is not for you and you should look into playing in the suburbs.”
The Chicago Blackhawks addressed their need for an affordable second-line center by signing Brad Richards to a one-year, $2-million contract. The signing, however, means they’ll have to shed salary before the season opens in October.
CSNChicago’s Tracey Myers reports the Richards signing (as well as Peter Regin’s one-year, $650,000 contract) pushes the Blackhawks above the $69-million cap by more than $2 million. Under CBA rules a team can spend up to 10 percent over the cap ceiling during the off-season but must become cap compliant when the season opens.
GM Stan Bowman told Myers they had some ideas how to address the issue, believing it will “play itself out over the summer as we prepare for training camp.” Read more
All right, so now that (almost) all the dust has cleared in Free Agent Frenzy 2014, here are some thoughts on Day 1 of a crazy off-season:
MOTOWN NO TOWN FOR FREE AGENTS Let me get this straight. Dan Boyle took less money and term to sign with the New York Rangers than he could have received from the Detroit Red Wings. What is this, Opposite Day?
After pretty much ruling the NHL for the past two decades, the Detroit Red Wings have fallen on hard times indeed. Remember the days when free agency would open and the Red Wings would basically open for business, basically telling whichever veterans stars they wanted that playing for the Red Wings was a privilege? The Red Wings never begged and they never got turned down. Read more
While the focus in recent days was upon potential trades leading up to the draft, a number of NHL teams are using the free agent interview period to reach out to potential unrestricted free agents.
Interest in Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny is growing. The 28-year-old could become the best player available in the upcoming UFA market if the Avalanche fail to re-sign him before July 1. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun claims up to 15 teams have contacted Stastny’s agent.
LeBrun claims the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks are among “the long list of teams” that reached out to the Stastny camp. Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Blues have also expressed interest. Read more
With the Vancouver Canucks having hired a new GM (Jim Benning) and coach (Willie Desjardins), the focus returns to center Ryan Kesler, who remains the target of recent trade speculation.
Earlier this month it was reported Kesler informed Benning he still prefers a trade. There’s been some recent confusion, however, over where the 29-year-old prefers to be dealt. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are Kesler’s only preferences, prompting The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek to note the difficulty that would create for the Canucks to move him.
The Blackhawks have limited cap space ($4.6 million) for 2014-15 and restricted free agents (Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Antti Raanta) to re-sign. They’ll have to either do a dollar-for-dollar swap with the Canucks or convince them to pick up part of Kesler’s salary to squeeze him under their cap. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but Sharp has a modified no-trade clause, meaning he’ll have to agree to the deal. Read more