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Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews feel added pressure with new deals

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews admitted Friday they feel additional pressure is on them with their pay raises going into effect next season.

Kane and Toews each agreed last summer to eight-year, $84 million contract extensions, which begin in the 2015-16 season. Their individual $10.5 million cap hits will be the highest in the NHL next season. They each previously had five-year, $31.5 million contracts.

"I think front and center is the contracts with Kane and I that are kicking in, and that's where everybody's kind of looking," Toews said at the Blackhawks convention in downtown Chicago on Friday. "I understand that. The two of us have worked hard to own up to that, and I think the pressure will be on us maybe more than it has in past years because of that fact. I think we've been up for challenges like that before, and we're ready for this one, too."

Kane has also considered the significance of their raises and has used that as motivation.

"I've thought about it a little bit so far this summer," Kane said. "You want to make sure, especially with a short summer, you're coming back in shape and ready as possible, ready as anyone else in the league because you know you're going to have that expectation and that accountability to step up, that you live up to that contract.

"I don't think it's something we think about too much throughout the season or when we're on the ice or anything like that, but maybe a little bit during the summer it makes you train a little bit harder and make sure you're ready coming into the season."

Kane and Toews will combine to have a $21 million cap hit in the 2015-16 season. Their cap hits make up 29.4 percent of the team's $71.4 million cap space. They combined for a $12.6 million cap hit or 18.3 percent of the team's $69 million cap space last season.

Kane and Toews have each played eight NHL seasons. Toews has 223 goals and 283 assists in 565 career NHL regular-season games. Kane has 205 goals and 352 assists in 576 career NHL regular-season games. The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups and been to five Western Conference conference finals since their arrivals.