Hawks to announce deals for trio

Updated: December 2, 2009, 10:52 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com news services

The Chicago Blackhawks will announce that young stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith have agreed to contract extensions during a news conference on Thursday, a source told ESPNChicago's Jesse Rogers on Wednesday.

A source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that forwards Kane and Toews will each receive five-year deals for $31.5 million and a $6.3 million average salary. Keith, a defenseman, gets a 13-year, $72 million contract that averages $5.54 million per season.

The news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.

Sources also told Rogers that Keith's deal was submitted to the league for scrutiny. Several long-term deals signed last summer, including Marian Hossa's, are under investigation for possibly circumventing the salary cap. Sources confirm the league signed off on Keith's deal.

Multiple sources also continue to indicate the Hawks' necessity to clear cap space committed to next season in order to announce the extensions. A team cannot commit payroll to a future season that will exceed the salary cap for the current year. How much the Hawks need to clear, if any, is unknown, but it would need to happen before the extensions can be signed. That means a move to clear space could happen before 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The Blackhawks are currently 17-6-3 and lead the Central division. After a thrilling 11-shootout win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, they are riding an eight-game home winning streak.

Kane leads the team in scoring with 26 points, while Keith -- the team leader in assists -- is second at 23. Toews missed a chunk of the season with a concussion but has six goals and 10 assists for 16 points.

The young Blackhawks lost to the Red Wings in the conference finals last season after not making the playoffs since the 2001-02 season. They haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1960-61 but hope the young nucleus can break through.

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