The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed today to a five-year contract extension with captain Jonathan Toews
, a 13-year contract extension with alternate captain Duncan Keith
and a five-year contact extension with right wing Patrick Kane
“Today is another great day in our franchise’s decorated history,” Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman said. “We’ve said all along that the plan was to keep our core together for a long time and Jonathan, Duncan and Patrick are a major part of that. This is a large step toward setting the Blackhawks up for long-term success as an organization.”
The youngest current captain in the National Hockey League at 21-years-old, Toews is in his third season with the Blackhawks after the club selected him with the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native has registered 64 goals, 139 points, 99 penalty minutes and a +34 plus/minus rating in 166 regular-season games with Chicago over the last three seasons (2007-09), which includes 10 assists and 16 points in 20 outings this season. He also made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in 2009, tying for second on the club with seven goals and ranking third with 13 points in 17 tilts to help the Blackhawks reach the Western Conference Final for the first time in 14 years.
Last season, Toews, who was voted a starter for the Western Conference in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, led the Blackhawks and tied for 16th in the league with 34 goals while also holding third on the team with 69 points and fifth with 35 assists while appearing in all 82 matchups. Prior to the start of the season, Toews was named the Blackhawks 34th captain in franchise history on July 17, 2008, making him the third-youngest player to earn that distinction in the history of the NHL.
During his professional debut in 2007-08, Toews led NHL rookies with 24 goals – second-best on the Blackhawks – and seven power-play markers while ranking third with 54 points. He finished as a finalist for the 2008 Calder Trophy, given annually to the league’s top rookie. Toews also ranked third on the Blackhawks with 30 assists while appearing in 64 of the squad’s 82 tilts in 2007-08.
Keith, 26, has appeared in 348 of the Blackhawks’ 354 regular-season games since the franchise selected him with the 54th overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, the most of any Chicago player in that span of time. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native has racked up 115 assists, 151 points and a +61 plus/minus rating over the last five seasons since making his debut with Chicago in 2005-06. He leads the Blackhawks with 18 assists and ranks second behind Kane with 23 points in 26 contests this season.
The Blackhawks lone representative at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, Keith has paced Chicago in average time on ice per game in each of the last four seasons, which includes ranking seventh in the league at 25:43 last season. Keith made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in 2009, collecting six assists in 17 postseason outings, while ranking second on the club in time on ice (24:38) and third in blocked shots (30). During the 2008-09 regular season, he shared the lead among team defensemen with eight goals and ranked second among team blueliners with a career-high 36 assists and a career-best 44 points.
Kane, who turned 21 a week ago today, has recorded 55 goals and 168 points in 188 career regular-season games with the Blackhawks over the last three seasons after the organization selected him with the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He currently leads Chicago with nine goals and 26 points in 26 games this season.
The Buffalo, New York, native also helped Chicago reach the Western Conference Final last season, leading the team with nine goals while ranking second with 14 points in 16 tilts. During the 2008-09 regular season, Kane ranked second on the Blackhawks with 70 points, tied for second with 45 assists and finished fifth with 25 goals in 80 games. He was also named to the starting lineup for the Western Conference in 2009 NHL All-Star Game during his sophomore campaign, a season that saw him lead Chicago in both power-play goals (13) and power-play points (35).
Kane captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie during his debut in 2007-08 after leading Chicago and league rookies with 72 points. He led the club and established a franchise record for a rookie with 51 assists and tied for third on the squad with 21 goals.
Kane (USA), Keith and Toews (Canada) are finalists to represent their countries at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in February. The final rosters will be announced on January 1, 2010.