There was news on all fronts on Friday before the start of the NHL draft.
To start in the past few days there have been reports that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are asking for $12 million a year in negotiations to extend their contracts which are up at the end of the 2014-2015 season. That’s not likely to happen and it’s more likely that they will come in somewhere around the $9-$10 million a year range.
More pleasant news was on the way as the salary cap was lower than originally estimated for next year. The cap was set for next year at $69 million which is around $2 million less than had been previously reported.
But the Blackhawks did have some positive news on the front as they took care of a majority of their own business.
On Friday, the Blackhawks resigned Ben Smith, Antti Raanta and Jeremy Morin to two year contract extensions. All three were slated to become restricted free agents on July 1.
Smith received the most lucrative contract of the three and will make $1.5 million per year. It’s a very good contract for the Blackhawks and Smith who played everywhere from the second line to the fourth line this season. In 75 games this season, Smith scored 14 goals and 12 assists chipping in four more goals during the playoffs. Smith will most likely be on the fourth line to start next season.
Raanta will make $750,000 per year and went 13-5-4 with a 2.71 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in 25 games last season. Raanta will be the backup to Corey Crawford next season.
Meanwhile, Morin will finally get his shot to crack the Blackhawks lineup full time. In 24 games last season, Morin scored 5 goals and 6 assists. Morin will have a cap hit of $800,000 per year.