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The Blackhawks’ championship window is defined by these 4 choices

May 19th, 2017 at 10:11 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

When talking about the Blackhawks‘ big Stanley Cup window, which you’ve probably noticed we’re doing a lot of lately, it’s always tempting to look back at the moves that got the team where it is now. How did the window get started? What are the moves that could seal its fate?

Building a three-time Stanley Cup winner over the past decade is far more complicated than just a few signings and trades, but the Blackhawks’ fortunes have swung most heavily thanks to certain moves that (in hindsight) look brilliant or highly suspect. There’s a good chance the Hawks’ window lasts through at least 2019, but it’s also possible it’s already closed for good.

With that in mind, I thought I’d look back at the most important moves of the past few years, and how they’re impacting the championship window today. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but a look at some of the biggest “make or break” moments.

Kane/Toews extensions

To many people, this is where the Blackhawks began putting limits on their championship window. The team had the unfortunate timing of both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews being a year away from free agency in 2014, when the NHL was optimistic the salary cap would keep rising at a steady rate.

In that environment, it totally made sense for the Blackhawks to give Kane and Toews annual cap hits of $10.5 million each, even if it was a premium. Surely the raising cap number would alleviate the issues created by their big salaries, right?

That was presumably the plan, but a combination of factors would slow the increase of the salary cap over the next few years. Now, nearly three years after the Kane/Toews extensions were agreed upon, they’re still the largest deals in the NHL by annual cap hit.

Will Connor McDavid or another superstar finally surpass them soon? It’s possible, but the Blackhawks ended up paying more than they probably should’ve for Kane and Toews because of unfortunate timing. They had to get the deals done, and $10.5 million was market …

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Tags: Adam Clendening, Alex DeBrincat, ANDREW LADD, Artem Anisimov, Artemi Panarin, Blackhawks, BLUE JACKETS, BRANDON SAAD, BRENT SEABROOK, CANUCKS, Dale Weise, David Rundblad, DUNCAN KEITH, Gustav Forsling, ISLANDERS, JOHNNY ODUYA, JONATHAN TOEWS, Marko Dano, NICK LEDDY, NIKLAS HJALMARSSON, PATRICK KANE, PHILLIP DANAULT, Rob Scuderi, Stanley Cup, TEUVO TERAVAINEN, Tomas Fleischmann, Trevor Daley, Ville Pokka

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