Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Tuesday that signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to contract extensions is his “highest priority.”
Kane and Toews will become unrestricted free agents after the 2014-15 season. The Blackhawks can begin negotiations with them on July 1.
“It’s the highest priority for us,” Bowman said. “Looking at next year, there’s no doubt that’s what we’re going to do. We made it clear. We’ve never wavered from that. There’s no doubting the importance of those two players. The direction this franchise has taken has really been in tandem with those two players. When Patrick and Jonathan came on to the scene, it really breathed life into our franchise and into our team. They’ve played a huge part in this.”
Kane and Toews both signed five-year contracts worth $31.5 million in December 2009.
Kane has 178 goals and 315 assists in 515 career regular-season games, and Toews has 195 goals and 245 assists in 484 career games.
“To be honest with you, I haven’t thought a lot about it, especially with the season going on, the playoffs,” the 25-year-old Kane said. “I’m sure we’ll talk more about it as time goes along here all throughout the summer. I know that we both love it here in Chicago, and we love playing here and having the chance to win every year.
“I haven’t even talked with my agent or [Toews] or my parents about it much at all. I think there’s been some questions about it throughout the season that we could re-sign when the summer’s up, but I think it was never really in our minds. I don’t think it’s something I or Jon play for is our contracts or the money. We’re playing to try to win and because we love the game. You know we’ll talk more about it. We’ll see where it all goes and what happens, I guess. I don’t know what to expect. I’ll talk to Stan today. I’m sure that will probably come up. We’ll see what all happens, I guess.”
Bowman will work with Pat Brisson, who represents both Kane and Toews.
“The negotiations, that’s something I’m not going to do publicly, but we have a great relationship with Pat Brisson,” Bowman said. “He’s the best agent in the game. He gets deals done. We’re excited to work with him and get that worked out.”