FanDuel - WFBC

July 10, 2014

Blackhawks Sign Toews, Kane Through 2023: The Chicago Blackhawks signed Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions Wednesday. Their yearly salary cap hits of $10.5 million apiece are the highest in NHL history.

posted by rcade to hockey at 11:31 AM - 4 comments

The article starts with this premise: likely ensuring the Hawks will be Stanley Cup contenders for the next decade or so....

...before spending the rest of its ink describing the problems the Hawks will have keeping their nucleus of talent together.

I don't necessarily think that these signings are a bad move, but I sure as hell don't think that having two players around, any two players, ensures that a team will be Cup contenders.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:06 PM on July 10

I don't necessarily think that these signings are a bad move, but I sure as hell don't think that having two players around, any two players, ensures that a team will be Cup contenders.

Assuming their prime...

Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr?

Steve Yzerman and Niklas Lidstrom?

Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier?

Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito?

posted by grum@work at 01:22 AM on July 13

Dynamic duos, all. And throw in Gretzky and Messier. First, I still think each one of those teams was pretty deep top to bottom. Second, with the exception of the tail end of the Yzerman/Lidstrom Wings, those were all duos that played in a different era.

The nature of today's game is such that to be a "cup contender," a team has to roll four balanced lines, or at the very least, three top lines and an "energy"or "grind" line. Look at the teams that have made the finals lately--LA, Boston, NYR, Chicago--they are all deep teams that roll 3 or 4. Maybe two or three all-stars with a supporting cast can get you to the playoffs, but that's not the same thing as a "cup contender." I point to the Crosby/Malkin Penguins as an example. And the whole point of this article is that with so much locked up in Kane and Toews, it might make it difficult to have the quality throughout the lineup that a Cup victory requires.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:48 PM on July 13

Dynamic duos, all.

to be a "cup contender," a team has to roll four balanced lines, or at the very least, three

Being old enough to have watched them play, I can say that the Bruins teams of Orr and Esposito not only had 2 superstars, but also had 3 solid lines, solid defense, and above average goaltending. I don't believe any element of a team can be given short shrift and still have a chance at a Stanley Cup. If you are to pour a significant percentage of your salary cap figure into two players, your front office had best include some top notch talent evaluators. As your second level performers approach free agency, they may demand a higher salary. One of the facts of life in the NHL is that a forward's stat line is usually a bit inflated by playing with the top level centers and wings. Thus, a player who has had a great year approaching the end of his contract could cost you more than you can afford. The solution is to have a supply of young talent coming in from the draft and in development in the minors. If you can do this, your salary structure will remain within the cap, you will have room to add a couple of mid-level free agents to fill holes, and your next generation of stars is coming along.

Trying to win quickly through free agents is a losing proposition. There are many examples of players who put up gaudy numbers while playing alongside a superstar, but then are no better than pedestrian when put into a different situation. Granted there are some who do not play well for a particular team, but will blossom when put into a system that better suits their game. Tyler Seguin is an example of this. If you look at the 4 teams tahoemoj has identified, each of them has a solid development program in place that will be able to turn out serviceable NHL players and the occasional superstar.

posted by Howard_T at 02:58 PM on July 13

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