In the midst of the Carmelo and LeBron uncertainty, the Blackhawks quietly and efficiently went about the process of signing their two biggest stars -- Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews -- to eight-year contract extensions, a huge step in securing that the organization's future may be as bright as the past few years have been.
"When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization," Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said Wednesday in a statement. "There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
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"The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago."
But it's a commitment that comes at a price.
A big one.
The two stars, who broke in to the NHL together in October 2007, will cost the Hawks a combined $168 million beginning in 2015-16 and running through 2022-23, and their reported annual salaries of $10.5 million apiece makes them the highest-paid players in the league.
"Jonathan and Patrick have become cornerstones of this franchise during their time in Chicago," said general manager Stan Bowman, who from Day One has stated the organization's top priority was signing the dynamic duo. "We are excited to ensure they will continue to lead our organization for years to come."
As are Toews, who will be 35 when the extension runs out, and Kane, who will be 34.
"I could not be more grateful for the amazing moments and opportunities I've been given by the Chicago Blackhawks," said Toews, who became the youngest captain in NHL history in 2008 and since then has won a pair of Stanley Cups, 2 Olympic gold medals, a Conn Smythe Trophy and a Selke Trophy to boot.
"There's no organization in sports that cares more about the overall experience of their fans and the success of their players. To have the chance to continue with this amazing group of teammates and people throughout the organization is an incredible honor."
Kane, who was selected by the Blackhawks with the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL entry draft, and eventually went on to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, also has a pair of Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy to his credit.
He's hoping to add more.
"It's great to be able to continue my career in Chicago," he said. "Playing with the best organization in sports and the best fans in the game is a blessing. Since I was drafted by the Blackhawks, the people of Chicago have really embraced me and treated me with nothing but respect. I look forward to many more years of success with the Blackhawks."
Sure it will take some cap wizardry to ensure that it happens, but for the time being the focus should be on the two players who helped turn a moribund franchise into the envy of the league, going 309-163-68 in the regular season since their arrival and collecting two Stanley Cups.
"There's nothing we want more as players," Toews said, "than to continue to win Stanley Cups for the best hockey fans on the planet."
• Also Wednesday, general manager Stan Bowman released a statement on the departure of assistant coach Jamie Kompon to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL:
"The entire Blackhawks organization would like to wish Jamie well with the Winterhawks and all of his future endeavors. We thank him for his work during his time in Chicago, including being part of our 2013 Stanley Cup championship."