Jonathan Toews

Toews: It’d be tough to find reasons to leave Chicago


The Chicago Blackhawks already have a little over $41 million in cap space committed to seven players for the 2015-16 campaign and that doesn’t include Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews as they are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2015.

When faced with questions about that potential cap issue after handing lucrative extensions to Corey Crawford, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Bryan Bickell, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman firmly stated that Kane and Toews “will be here forever.”

That message resonated with the team’s captain.

“It meant a lot to hear that,” Toews said, according to CSN Chicago. He later added, “Right now, it would be tough to find a reason to play somewhere else. There’s no place better to play hockey.”

The question is if those feelings will lead him and Kane to accept a hometown discount. If they sign at market value on top of Chicago’s other commitments, then Bowman could potentially have the vast majority of his cap tied to just nine players — depending on how much the ceiling rises over the next couple years. In that scenario, assembling the depth needed to excel in the playoffs would be a challenge.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”