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Thursday, February 29

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Blackhawks Thu Dec 03 2009

It's Official. Now What?

After news broke a few weeks ago that agreements were imminent, the Chicago Blackhawks announced today the signings of restricted free agents Patrick Kane, Jonathon Toews and Duncan Keith to long-term extensions. The team held a 2 p.m. press conference with the 3 stars, and while details of the deals weren't disclosed, the Tribune is reporting identical 5-year, $31 million deals for Kane and Toews, and a staggering 13-year, $72 million deal for Keith. The costs breakdown to a $6.3 million cap hit for Kane and Toews, and $5.4 million for Keith.

It's long been known the Hawks planned to lock up the Big Three before they hit the market, but seeing Keith rewarded with the richest deal in team history was a surprise, though a deserved one for one of the league's best and most underrated defensemen (and certainly a better signing than Brian Campbell's $7 million cap hit). Kane and Toews may be the face of the resurgent Hawks, but Keith could easily be the team's MVP.

Now that the ink is drying, the Hawks can take a quick breather before beginning the much more arduous task of figuring out how to work these signings under next season's salary cap. Signing the Big Three was a necessity, but it's going to also result in some current Blackhawks being shown the door via trade or free agency next summer.

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