Kane, Toews, Keith agree to contract extensions
The Chicago Blackhawks made it official on Thursday, announcing that the team has agreed to long-term contract extensions for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith.
Kane and Toews, both 21 and the pivot points for the Chicago offence, were signed to five-year extensions worth a reported $31.5 million US in total.
Keith's extension is more than double that length, a whopping 13-year add-on worth a reported $72 million US.
The defenceman's contract is the richest in team history, but he wasn't focused on that fact Thursday.
"We are a close group of guys, and there's no individual player who is bigger than the team," Keith said. "I would certainly rather have these two guys up here at the same time, as well, and take a little of the spotlight off. I don't mind that at all."
Keith's deal will be an annual salary cap hit of $5.54 million, with the Toews and Kane deals each costing $6.3 million against the cap.
Kane, 21, has scored 155 points in 168 career regular season games, and was named league rookie of the year for the 2007-08 season.
Toews, just over six months older than Kane, has 139 points in 166 games and is the third-youngest captain in league history.
Keith, like Toews born in Winnipeg, has emerged over the past three seasons as one of the best young defenceman in the NHL. Keith, 26, has five goals and 18 assists in 26 games this season, and finished in the top 10 in league plus/minus the past two seasons.
The Buffalo-born Kane is considered a lock for the U.S. Olympic team, while Keith and Toews are hoping to make the Canadian team.
Kane was the only one of the aforementioned trio among eight players on the team currently making over $3 million.
He said the raise won't affect anything about his on-ice approach.
"You don't think about that stuff when you are on the ice. You are trying to play for the love of the game and for your team," he said. "Obviously, there is pressure, but with that comes responsibility. We know we have to pick it up."
With the signings, it is expected that Chicago will have to shed salary, but general manager Stan Bowman said no serious changes will have to be made until the off-season.
The Blackhawks now have 12 players under contract for next season owed at least $3 million.
"There will be changes between this year and next year, but there are every year," Bowman said.
The following is the breakdown of the three contracts:
With files from The Associated Press