Tag: contract extensions

Stan Bowman

Blackhawks hand GM Stan Bowman a three-year extension

Sure, his last name probably helped him get his foot in the door, but Stan Bowman faced a genuine challenge living in his father’s shadow. The Chicago Blackhawks’ GM is making a name of his own, though, as he put the finishing touches on a team that won its first Stanley Cup in decades and hopes to compete in the long-term.

(As an aside, apparently Stan doesn’t have a problem with Scotty Bowman’s presence, considering his father’s role as an adviser.)

After signing core players to mostly-solid contracts, it only seems right that Bowman received a contract extension of his own. The Blackhawks decided to do that today, as they handed the team’s architect a three-year extension that will run through the 2015-16 season.

The 2011-12 season will be Stan Bowman’s third as the GM and 11th with the organization. He inherited some great talent from previous general manager Dale Tallon, but also was forced to navigate some treacherous salary cap waters thanks to his predecessor. The Blackhawks experienced some growing pains last season because of their depth losses, but they managed to keep their core together and head into next season as genuine contenders.

Here are some of his career highlights, via the Blackhawks.

Bowman, 38, is entering his 11th season with the Blackhawks and third as the head of the team’s Hockey Operations Department. He was originally named General Manager on July 14, 2009, before being promoted to Vice President/General Manager on September 7, 2010. Currently the youngest General Manager in the NHL, Bowman helped Chicago capture the 2010 Stanley Cup during his first year as GM, ending a 49-year drought. The Blackhawks have registered a .604 regular-season winning percentage (99-51-17) during his tenure as GM and a 19-10 mark (.655) in three Stanley Cup Playoff appearances over three years.

Over the last 26 months, Bowman has locked up Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford to long-term deals and has acquired Nick Leddy, Michael Frolik, Steve Montador, Andrew Brunette and Daniel Carcillo among other moves to stabilize the club’s roster. He also re-signed Head Coach Joel Quenneville through the 2013-14 season last September. Bowman joined the Blackhawks in 2001, serving for four seasons as special assistant to the general manager before being promoted to director of hockey operations, a role he served in for two years (2005-07).

Hurricanes hand GM Jim Rutherford a four-year contract extension


If there’s one theme to the Carolina Hurricanes’ way of doing business, it might be “loyalty.”

Sometimes that preference reaches into the realm of the slightly ridiculous, as the team tends to bring back retreads with notable frequency. Just look at their history with Anton Babchuk, Cory Stillman, Erik Cole, the Kaberle brothers and even their once-fired head coach Paul Maurice for examples of this phenomenon.

While the team’s on-ice results seem to be on one year and off the other – possibly as a result of the Canes’ dependence upon stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward – the team seems like a solid hit in its non-traditional market. It’s my guess that fact (and his glistening 2006 Stanley Cup championship ring) explains why the Hurricanes decided to hand general manager Jim Rutherford a four-year contract extension.

It’s true that I don’t agree with every decision Rutherford makes, but considering Carolina’s restricted budget, it seems like he does a very solid job of putting together an attacking roster. Last year’s seventh overall pick Jeff Skinner won the 2011 Calder Trophy and most of their recent first round picks have been direct hits (even if they ended up on different teams).

The team might struggle with the loss of a key player such as Cole – who bolted for the Montreal Canadiens’ substantial deal – but it was the most cost-effective and risk-conscious option for a player with a troubling injury history. My guess at this moment is that the Canes will struggle to fight for a playoff spot in 2011-12, but for the most part, Rutherford seems like he knows what’s he is doing.

Blue Jackets give R.J. Umberger a surprising five-year, $23M extension

R.J. Umberger

For a franchise with zero playoff wins and one postseason appearance in its history, the Columbus Blue Jackets are showing a lot of urgency in keeping the band together. If GM Scott Howson’s job depends on this season’s results as many expect, then his current run of moves would handcuff a hypothetical incoming general manager anyway.

R.J. Umberger is the latest example of keeping more than just the core together, as Howson handed him a surprising five-year, $23 million extension today. The former Philadelphia Flyers forward will register a $4.6 million annual cap hit starting next season. Aaron Portzline reports that the first two seasons (2012-13 and 13-14) include a no-trade clause while the final three carry a modified one.

The salary breakdown is simple:

2012-13: $5 million
Four other seasons: $4.5 million

The Blue Jackets’ roster is now riddled with long-term contracts – and it’s not just obvious players such as franchise winger Rick Nash and newly acquired center Jeff Carter. Here’s a quick look at the team’s big commitments, with their salary cap hits and the season that their contracts expire.

Nash: $7.8 million cap hit, expires 2017-18
Carter: $5.27M, 21-22
Umberger: $4.7M, 16-17
Antoine Vermette: $3.75M, 14-15
James Wisniewski: $5.5M, 16-17
Marc Methot: $3M, 14-15
Fedor Tyutin: $2.84M, 17-18

There are some reasonable values in that grouping – and it’s not as if there is nothing to like about Umberger’s game – but it’s still a risky plan for a team that hasn’t proven anything. On the bright side, the 29-year-old forward is a consistent producer (three straight seasons of 23 goals or more, with two consecutive campaigns of 55+ points) and he can play at both center and wing.

The thing is, when you hand a guy a lengthy deal (and no-trade clause) at that price, there’s probably an expectation for even better things. I’m not sure how much more the Blue Jackets can expect from Umberger, so why couldn’t they get a better bargain for him in exchange for the considerable amount of security he just gained?

Honestly, it’s a head-scratching decision, but it at least accomplishes the task of showing the team’s confidence in their current setup. We’ll find out soon enough if that confidence is justified or ill-advised.