Based on their talents, ages and where the salary cap is expected to go, Kane and Toews would have undoubtedly had suitors lining up to wine and dine them and willing to pay them more than the $10.5 million average salary they'll receive from the Chicago Blackhawks beginning in the 2015-16 season.
That scenario plus many more were discussed by Kane and Toews with their agent Pat Brisson of Creative Artists Agency. What trumped everything in the end, including adding millions of dollars to their bank accounts, was the prospect of winning additional Stanley Cups with the same organization and fans they've spent their entire careers with.
"Anytime you go through an opportunity like this you have to study and look at all your options," Brisson wrote in an email on Thursday. "They obviously elected to keep the puzzle in place in order to maximize their chances to continue winning."
Brisson wouldn't get into details of the negotiations, but the assumption is Kane and Toews could have pushed the Blackhawks for more money if they really wanted to. Brisson acknowledged Kane and Toews entered contract talks with the mindset of balancing being paid fairly and not destroying the Blackhawks' future Stanley Cup chances with their salaries.
"It was actually one if not the top priority," Brisson wrote. "They understand that hockey is a team sport and in order to win you need not only the right players but everyone on board."
Brisson has come across two stars players who have been on nearly the same page before. He also represents the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He negotiated a 12-year, $104.4 million deal for Crosby in 2012 and a eight-year, $76 million deal for Malkin in 2013.
Kane's and Toews' situation was different for Brisson.
"We also represent Sidney and Geno in Pittsburgh in a very similar setting however their deals came up a year apart with two different CBA rights," Brisson wrote. "This case was more unique in a way of timing together. Jonny and Pat made it clear they both totally respect each other's talent to continue competing for the Cup years to come. That is the beauty of this relationship.
"Before anything else [what impresses me about them is] they are great people and come from exemplary families. They both want to make a difference and love to compete and winning. They are also clean competitors."