GM confident Kane, Toews are part of future

Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s every move in recent seasons has been in preparation to re-sign Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Bowman had Kane and Toews in mind when he re-signed Bryan Bickell and Corey Crawford to multi-year deals in the offseason. He had Kane and Toews in mind when he recently traded for Kris Versteeg. The same went for when the NHL recently announced a 12-year, $5.2 billion Canadian TV contract.

“We’ve always looked forward,” Bowman said in a phone interview with ESPNChicago.com on Friday. “We have formulas in place for what [the salary cap] could do and be.

“I think what matters for me is we got a great situation in Chicago. We have an owner that really understands what it’s all about to be a competitive team. We have been given resources by Rocky [Wirtz] and John [McDonough] to be a cap team and a very competitive team. I think players understand that. It’s become a destination. That’s the important thing. The numbers will work themselves out. We will adjust accordingly. We will keep the key players in Chicago.”

Some hockey analysts have predicted the salary cap could reach $80 within the next four years. Bowman isn’t banking on it.

“I don’t know if I’m in the minority, but I’m hesitant; there’s no accountability for these random people making these predictions the cap is going to be $80 million,” Bowman said. “I might be wrong. I think there’s folly. There’s so many factors that go into the salary cap.

“Because there’s a new television deal, I’m not going to assume it’s going to be $80 million. I don’t operate that way. If you base your assumptions on predictions and you’re wrong, I can’t say, ‘They said it was going to be $80 million.’ I’m going to wait to see where it goes. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to go up. It’s think it’s a little bit irresponsible to say where it’s going to be unless you have intricate knowledge of the cap.”

Bowman said he was looking forward to working on new contracts for Kane and Toews. They are permitted to begin negotiating new contracts in July. Their current contracts run through the 2014-15 season.

“When it comes to it, we’re going to sit down with [their agent] Pat Brisson,” Bowman said. “I look forward to that. I’m excited about where this team and organization are going. I know Patrick and Jonathan are going to be a part of it.

“There’s no secret that they were part of turning this team around on the ice and in conjunction off the ice. It all goes together. We’re going to get down to it and talk about all the pertinent facts at the time. Until then, it’s all speculation.”

Kane and Toews are currently tied for the 34th highest-paid players in the league at $6.5 million a season. They are both expected to receive substantial raises, but Bowman didn’t let on to where he’d like Kane and Toews to rank among the league’s top salaries.

“That’s the whole point of negotiating to determine the value,” Bowman said. “There are so many factors that go into it. It’s not only the statistics and play; it’s the whole picture.

“As a player, you want to win. That’s what I love about these two guys we’re talking about. That’s the ultimate. It’s not about every last penny. It’s about being at a place that is committed from the top to winning. We’re going to surround them with real good players. And they’re going to be compensated fairly for their performance.

"I think it all goes together. Both sides have to be happy for a contract to be consummated. I know we were when the last contracts got done, and we will be when the next contracts will be done.”