CHICAGO — Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane want to stay in Chicago, and the Blackhawks think the high-scoring forwards are a central part of their promising future.
Get ready for a pair of big contract extensions this summer.
With the Blackhawks still coming to grips with their dramatic loss in the Western Conference finals, general manager Stan Bowman said Tuesday that megadeals for Toews and Kane are his biggest priority this offseason.
“There’s no doubt that’s what we’re gonna do,” Bowman said. “We’ve made it clear. We’ve never wavered from that. There’s no doubting the importance of those two players.”
The Blackhawks selected Toews with the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft, and grabbed Kane with the No. 1 overall selection the following year. They combined to lead Chicago out of a dark period to Stanley Cup titles in 2010 and 2013.
Toews and Kane each have one more year left on their contracts, and Bowman can officially start negotiating with two of the NHL’s biggest stars on July 1.
“I know we both love it here in Chicago and we love playing here and having a chance to win every year,” said Kane, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy last year as playoff MVP.
Toews expressed a similar sentiment.
“Who could ever think of a better situation to be in?” the captain said.
“I think back to the day I was drafted, I had absolutely no idea that all this would be in store for me in my short career so far. I’ve been so fortunate to be a part an unbelievable group of guys, the majority of our team that has been together since I’ve been here. And just to see the growth of this franchise in the city of Chicago and the amazing fans we have here, there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s no better way to have it.”
The Blackhawks had a chance for a second straight NHL title before they lost 5-4 to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime in Game Seven on Sunday.
If Chicago is able to retain Toews and Kane, it looks as if it could contend for the Stanley Cup for years to come. It is in a much better spot than it was following the 2010 title run, when the Blackhawks kept their core intact but parted with much of their supporting cast because of salary cap concerns.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick says he’s fine after taking a shot off his collarbone before the Stanley Cup finals opener.
Quick says he only wrapped his workout early at Staples Center on Tuesday as a precaution.
Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP while leading Los Angeles to its first NHL title.
The U.S. Olympic team goalie’s statistics have been less impressive this spring, but Quick still has won a Game Seven in three straight playoff rounds.
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr is also hoping he’s healthy enough to be available when the Kings host the New York Rangers in Game One tonight.
Regehr has been out since May 3, missing 13 games after injuring his knee in the second-round series opener in Anaheim.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has cut Daniel Carcillo’s suspension from 10 games to six, meaning the New York Rangers’ enforcer could play in the finals should the club elect to return him to the lineup.
The commissioner made the change Tuesday after holding a hearing with Carcillo on Friday.
Carcillo was suspended on May 23 after he appeared to twice elbow linesman Scott Driscoll, who was trying to keep Carcillo away from a fight, during Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals.
The original ban would have kept him completely out of the Cup finals, even if the series goes the full seven games.
Now Carcillo, who has already served three games, is eligible to play in Game Four. Carcillo was originally punished under Rule 40.3 for deliberately applying physical force to an official, which carries a suspension of at least 10 games. However, Bettman decided that “Carcillo’s actions were more appropriately deemed a violation of Rule 40.4 for deliberately applying physical force to an official for the sole purpose of getting free of such official during or immediately following an altercation.