“That’s my goal going into camp, to make the team,” Kane told The Canadian Press on Wednesday after signing his entry-level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I feel that they’re going to give me every opportunity possible,” added Kane. “That’s exciting to me.”
If not, Kane said, he’ll gladly go back to the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights, a place he credits immensely for his development last season.
“But don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely going into camp and trying to make the Blackhawks,” Kane said in no uncertain fashion.
That’s exactly what Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon wants to hear.
“We’re hopeful. We want him to make our team,” Tallon told CP on Wednesday. “Our fans want to see him.”
Once Kane makes the NHL, whether it’s next season or in 2008-09, his three-year deal will pay him a base of US$875,000 per season in salary – which is the maximum for rookies – plus up to $850,000 a year in ‘A’ bonuses and up to $2 million a season in ‘B’ bonuses for a possible total of $3.725 million a season.
“That’s what the first picks get and he deserves it,” Tallon said. “He’s a player that will excite our fans and help our team get better.”
The standard ‘A’ bonuses in entry-level contracts include such targets as 20 goals, 35 assists, 60 points, as well as ice time, points per game and plus-minus benchmarks.
The ‘B’ bonuses, which pay more but are more difficult to attain, include league awards such as the Calder Trophy or Hart Trophy as well as placing among the league leaders in goals, assists, points or points per game (minimum 42 games played).
Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, for example, earned close to $4.5 million in total last season after hitting all of his ‘A’ and ‘B’ bonuses, capped by being named the Hart Trophy winner as NHL MVP.
First thing’s first for Kane, however. Just signing the contract Wednesday was a big deal.
“Getting drafted was another chapter in the book and now this is a step toward my dream of being an NHL player,” said Kane.
The 18-year-old American forward led Canadian Hockey League juniors with 145 points (62-83) in 58 games last season with the Knights.
The native of Buffalo, N.Y., was OHL rookie of the year in 2006-07 as well as a first-team all-star. He also had nine points (5-4) in nine games as the United States took home bronze at the world junior hockey championship last winter.
Kane received some attention for showing up to the entry draft in Columbus, Ohio, last month without a player agent. But that’s all changed now. After getting interest from many different agencies, he chose Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson of CAA Sports.
“We wanted to do it right,” explained Kane. “I told all the agents before the draft that I was going to go alone because I had got there by myself and I really didn’t think I needed an agent for the draft. So after the draft I weighed all my options and picked the best one available.
“We felt that Pat Brisson and the CAA group were the choice. We’re very happy with that decision. I think they really helped me with this contract.”