On Wednesday, the Blackhawks finally delivered the mega-contracts to their mega-stars that the hockey world had seen coming for a mega-long time. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got, as they say, paid.
The numbers were the same for each: Eight years and $84 million, with the deals carrying annual cap hits of $10.5 million.
That’s a boatload of money, but great players in their prime get paid boatloads of money. Both contracts should be met with initial shock at the dollars followed by an understanding that the cap goes up over the years and that we’re talking about two of the best players in the league.
The Bruins don’t have a player like Kane, and not many teams do. However, Toews and Patrice Bergeron  have spent the last few years (and figure to spend many more) battling one another for the Selke Trophy as the league’s top two-way forward.
Last summer, Bergeron got a mega-extension of his own: Eight years worth $52 million with an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.
Now, there are obvious differences between Bergeron and Toews, with the biggest one that Toews is a better player, particularly offensively — that one’s kind of the biggie here.
They’re also different ages. Bergeron will turn 29 years old later this month, while Toews turned 26 in April.
Still, considering the two players are compared to one another each year in the Selke race (Toews edged Bergeron in the 2013 season, Bergeron won for the second time in three years this past season), it’s worth comparing the two contracts. The immediate takeaway from Toews’ deal is that, at $4 million against the cap less each year, Peter Chiarelli got Bergeron, perhaps for the rest of his career, at a pretty sweet rate.
Last season, the players put up similar offensive numbers, with Toews’ 68 points over 76 games edging Bergeron’s 62 points over 80, but Bergeron put up 30 goals while Toews netted 28. Bergeron’s faceoff numbers (third in faceoff percentage; Toews was fifth) and superior advanced stats (he finished third in the league among players with 25 or more games in Corsi Rel; Toews was 22nd) made him the Selke winner in the eyes of the Pro Hockey Writers Association.
It should be expected that Toews will regularly outproduce Bergeron offensively, while Bergeron figures to remain the better defensive player. They aren’t the same player, but they’re closer than their contracts suggest. Neither deal has begun yet (Bergeron’s starts this coming season, Toews’ the year after that), but count Bergeron’s as another savvy signing for Chiarelli.