The three players with letters sewn to their Blackhawks sweaters have big contract numbers attached to their names.
The numbers put up this season by captain Jonathan Toews and alternate captains Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, though, don't correlate with the nearly $23 million investment the team has in them collectively for this season and fall in line more with the Hawks' 24-21-8 record.
This part of the core that helped lead the franchise to three Stanley Cup titles since 2010 has combined for 17 goals and 57 assists. The team is gasping for playoff air for the first time in 10 seasons, with hockey-reference.com putting their chances of qualifying at 10.1 percent, with a 0.1 percent chance of them winning it all.
"I don't think anybody has exceeded expectations or come close to it, especially the top guys," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "But that's across the board. I don't think anybody should be satisfied with where they're at in their play."
Except maybe Patrick Kane, the lone core player whose numbers on the ice line up with the ones on his paycheck. He has a team-high 21 goals and 32 assists.
But before Kane scored during Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Flames, the team's previous 14 goals came courtesy of five players 23 years old or younger.
Those players -- Alex DeBrincat, Anthony Duclair, Vinnie Hinostroza, David Kampf and Nick Schmaltz -- will make roughly $4.56 million combined and have combined for 44 goals and 54 assists.
So while the future may look bright, the lights of the past have been dimming.
Toews said just as the youngsters can learn from the veterans, the inverse also is true.
"We've talked about that, as far as having that humility and not taking anything for granted or expecting anything," he said. "You're not going to be given anything and it doesn't matter what you have accomplished, you have to earn that respect every day."