PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said he has no doubt he will be able to re-sign forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to long-term contract extensions. He's just not sure when all the details will be hammered out and their signatures go on the legal documents.
Kane and Toews are entering the final year of their respective contracts and are eligible to sign extensions starting July 1. They each reportedly are seeking an eight-year contract worth $12 million per season.
"The discussions are ongoing and I don't want to get into that, but we're definitely going to get them re-signed," Bowman said Friday from the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. "It's a process you go through and it's been a great process. I've got a lot of respect for Pat Brisson, he's a top agent in the game, and we're working on it."
Bowman wouldn't comment when asked if forward Patrick Sharp is on the trading block, which he is rumored to be despite claims from his agent, Rick Curran, that Bowman has assured him Sharp would not be traded.
Bowman's statement after his refusal to comment could reveal Sharp might not be going anywhere. Sharp led the Blackhawks last season with 34 goals and 78 points in 82 games, and he had 10 points in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The Blackahwks lost the Western Conference Final to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 in overtime.
"All I can say is we believe in the guys we have and we've got a really good thing going," Bowman said. "I think it was evident this year that we have a really strong team. We were one shot away from being in the Final this year. We don't need to make big changes. I believe in the guys who have been with our group for a long time and we want to keep that group together more so than anything, not take it apart."
That said, Bowman might have to part with a player or two off the current roster if he's interested in acquiring a second-line center and stay compliant with the $69 million salary cap for the 2014-15 season.
The Blackhawks were in the market for center Ryan Kesler, but he was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. Bowman said the Blackhawks might be able to fill the spot perhaps with Finnish rookie Teuvo Teravainen or with Andrew Shaw, a more established third-line center.
"I've been pretty consistent in saying we believe in our team and we believe in the options that we have from within," Bowman said. "If there are other ways to improve the team through a trade or free agency we'll look at that too."
Bowman said he doesn't feel pressure make a trade in response to the Ducks' acquisition of Kesler just to make sure the Blackhawks got bigger down the middle to match not only Anaheim, but the Kings, who have Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter.
"There was a lot of talk this year when the Blues went and acquired [Steve] Ott and [Ryan] Miller, and that must mean you have to go do something," Bowman said. "We don't approach it that way. When one team does something it may work for them or it may not. We're not trying to respond to what other people do. We've have to look at what we do well and what works for us. It's a puzzle to put together, but I don't think it's helpful to be reactionary. We have our own situation and we'll work through that."
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