When the Blackhawks announced on Wednesday that the franchise had locked up Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for eight more seasons, it signified a commitment to the heart of the team for the next decade (at least).
But it will also afford the Hawks’ two young superstars the opportunity to re-write the record books of the Original Six franchise, putting their two names among the all-time elite to wear the Indian head.
Here’s the scene at the 2006 NHL Draft when the Hawks selected Toews third overall:
Bob McKenzie and Pierre McGuire were spot on with their analysis of Toews that day. Not only did he become the team’s captain a few short years later, but he has been the model of leadership the rest of the league has come to admire since.
Here’s a reminder of the discussion that took place when the Hawks selected Kane with the organization’s first ever number one overall selection at the 2007 Draft:
Again, there may have been players scouts liked as much (or more), but the Hawks were sold on a potential superstar and used the most significant draft choice in the organization’s history on the kid from Buffalo.
Two Stanley Cup championships, each has a Conn Smythe, Toews has two gold medals, Kane has a silver and, when the 2015-16 season begins, they’ll share the largest cap hit in the NHL. They’re both still just entering the prime of their careers – Kane is only 25 and Toews is 26 – and they’re both under contract for nine more years.
Now, their legacy will be measured next to the greats to ever play for the Blackhawks organization.
In the history of the Chicago Blackhawks, only four players have played 1,000 games in the Indian head: Stan Mikita (1,394), Bobby Hull (1,036), Eric Nesterenko (1,013) and Bob Murray (1,008).
In the history of the Chicago Blackhawks, only three players have registered 1,000 points in the Indian head: Mikita (1,467), Hull (1,153) and Denis Savard (1,096).
At some point in the next nine years, each of those distinctions will add the names of Toews and Kane.
When the 2013-14 season ended, Kane had 493 points (178 goals, 315 assists) in 515 games. Toews’ resume shows 440 points (195 goals, 245 assists) in 484 games.
If they average a modest 70 games per season over the next nine years and maintain their current offensive pace, Kane will have 1,096 points in 1,145 games and Toews will have 1,013 points in 1,114 games. (In 82-game regular seasons to date, Kane has averaged 78 games per season and Toews has averaged 73).
During the 2014-15 season, Kane will likely pass two household names in Blackhawks history in the team’s record books.
When the Blackhawks visit the Senators on Oct. 30 – the tenth game of the upcoming regular season – Kane will play his 525th game for the Blackhawks, passing Jeremy Roenick; Roenick had 596 points for Chicago, however, so Kane will need a Hart Trophy-caliber 104 points this season to pass him in that regard.
Kane will probably pass one of Roenick’s best friends in the record books, however. Tony Amonte registered 541 points for Chicago (in 627 games), meaning Kane needs only 49 points to pass him in the ledger.
This season will also be a special one for Toews.
The 2014-15 season will be Toews’ seventh as the team’s Captain. Only two players in the franchise’s history have been the Captain for seven seasons: Pierre Pilote (1961-68) and Dirk Graham (1988-95). (There were two work stoppages – the 1992 strike and the 1994 lockout – during Graham’s tenure wearing the “C.”)
When Toews takes the ice as the Blackhawks captain for the first game of the new contract he signed on Wednesday, he will become the first player wear the “C” on his chest into an eighth season in Chicago.
The Blackhawks have a select number of retired numbers (a list that should include Steve Larmer). With their new contracts signed, it is probable that 19 and 88 will join the others in the rafters of the United Center.