This may be the last year the blackhawks go into a deep playoff run with their current core. With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane’s new deals making them earn over Ten million a piece kicking in next season, the Blackhawks will have a lot of trouble keeping everyone around.
As of now, Chicago has 63.15 million committed to 7 players, 3 defensemen and 3 goalies for next season.
Notable UFA’s include: Centers: Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards and Andrew Desjardins as well as defensemen Johnny Oduya, Kimmo Timonen and Michael Rozsival. The Hawks also have 3 key RFA’s in Brandon Saad, Marcus Krueger and David Rundblad.
Next year’s salary cap still an uncertainty, Gary Bettman has hopes that it could be around 71.5 million, Chicago has around 8.3 million to work with.
What to do?
Vermette: Likely won’t be re-signed or won’t decide to re-sign as he has been a scratch in playoffs twice already.
Richards: Fit well with the team, was part of one of the dominant lines with Kane and Versteeg before Kane’s injury. He was a bargain at 2 million, now at 34 years old and still getting money from the Rangers due to the buyout; he will likely accept a salary of around 2.5 million. He would probably want to make the most of his last few good years and try to win another cup. (That’s if the Blackhawks don’t win it this year)
Desjardins: A good 4th liner, can be kept or not, won’t change much.
Oduya: Is a big part of the Defense, is getting up there in age. Likely won’t be re-signed if he looks for an increase of salary.
Timonen: Is in his last miles in the NHL as a 40 year old. Will likely retire at
Rozsival: Is a good veteran, will likely be replaced by the likes of Rundblad or TVR.
Here comes the harder part.
Saad: Made an impact since his rookie season. Most likely won’t need to go through a ‘bridge deal’. Could earn around 4 million in a short term deal (3 years/12 mil).
Krueger: Has become an important piece of the bottom 6. Earned 1.4 million this season, could get a small raise.
Rundblad: Can get a two year bridge deal, around 1.2 mil.
After these, the Hawks still need at least 3 more forwards and 2 more Defensemen.
They are over the cap. Will need to move a big contract or two. Patrick Sharp definitely comes to mind. His 5.9 m cap hit would give instant relief to the Blackhawks or if we’re being bold, they could decide to trade Brent Seabrook who has one year remaining to his deal. He will most certainly get a huge pay increase as top pair defensemen’s as getting north of 6 million.
Who do you think will get traded out of Chicago?