Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kane/Towes To Blow Up Hawks?

1) That is exactly the result IF the rumours are correct that BOTH Patrick Kane and Jon Towes are planning on  asking for max contracts now (after July 1) that they are free to sign extensions.  According to the CBA no player can make in excess of 20% of the team's cap and sign for 8 years with their existing team or 7 with any other.  Few max deals have been signed by players since the new CBA has been signed but with the cap expected to escalate in excess of 75 mil by the 15-16 season when the new contracts would kick in, that would equate to 7 figures. Some published reports have their agent Pat Brisson asking for 12 million for the full 8 years or a whopping 96 million EACH!!

2) Now, putting aside for a moment if either deserve the money, one has only look at what that would do to the teams ability to retain/sign talent with regard the hand cuffing of the roster to 2 players.  Assuming the Hawks sign both for (only) 10 million each, if no other roster moves are made between now and next summer, and assuming the cap goes up to 75 mil. The team would have (including Kane and Toews) 12 players under contract with a payroll of 70 million. meaning GM Stan Bowman would have 5 million remaining to fill out his roster. For a 19 man roster that's 700 K/player. Meaning the Hawks would be forced to trade a current roster player(s) and sign cheaper, likely less talented players to replace them.  If this sounds familiar, see how the combo of Malkin and Crosby hand cuffed former Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero not allowing him to surround those stars with  enough talent to compete for/win another Cup.  No doubt the Hawks GM, Bowman can see the same scenario setting up if the reports are accurate.

3) For the record, while we could see Patrick Kane being a selfish, me first kinda jerk, we don't see Jon Towes in this way.  They are not the Sedin twins so linked contracts despite their common agent shouldn't be a necessity. Also for the record we never thought the way teams bent over backwards with the Sedins made sense either. Once the reality of the situation hits, we believe that Towes will accept a more realistic, albeit lucrative, contract.  A 8 year 64 mil deal is still dam nice, but allows a bit more wiggle room for the team to remain on an elite level. We doubt Kane would accept such a deal. Even if he did it would still mean that Chicago would 9 mil to sign those 6 players or slightly better 1.3 mil/player.  It may force the Hawks to have to reassess their future and attempt to deal one of the players, more likely Kane

4) Now are either/both worth the money? Interesting, this is more a difficult question than it would appear. Usually we'd say its a clear no, but here both players are in  their career prime years. 25 and 26 years old respectively. Since both entered the NHL as 18 year old they will achieve UFA status unusually early.  No doubt if either were to hit the open UFA market next summer there would be double digit teams lined up to give them a max deal.  Could Bowman afford (literally) to watch one of his teams super stars not just leave but waltz over to a rival Western Conference team?  Anyone else see the Sharks running at the chance to sign Towes?  Or the the Blues openign their vault to get Kane from their hated rivals up north?  Both players have won 2 Cups and play their best when the big money is on the line.  Some players put up big regular season numbers, but fade away in April/May. They may not put up gaudy regular season numbers but both of these guys are money in the spring and don't shrink away from the pressure.  If the Hawks are smart they'll appeal to the players desire to win and try to get them both signed ASAP to more reasonable cap friendly deals else the Hawks may be done as an elite team.

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