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The Blackhawks are 2.2 million over the cap (1.3 if you take away Teravainen), so they will need to find a way to reduce their salary before the start of the season.

Someone will not be in a Blackhawk uniform come the start of the season. Expect one or more of the following players to be dealt:

Patrick Sharp 3yr, $5.9m AAV
The advantage to moving Sharp is that you would net the highest return and lose the most salary in one swing. However, this takes a key player out of the current lineup. I would like for Bowman to find a way to keep Sharp. But the return and salary reduction may be too enticing given the current cap situation and the cap situation in future years

Bryan Bickell 3yr, $4.0m AAV
Bickell's poor regular season performance, high salary, and multi-year contract are the key reasons for sending him away. The contract may make him hard to move and, without Bickell, who do the Hawks have to provide a tough, big-guy presence?

Kris Versteeg 2yr, $2.2m AAV
Versteeg would be good to move because of the 2.2m cap hit and the fact that he does not fit with this team. The Hawks fourth line is pretty secured. Maybe Versteeg fits as a third liner, but I think there is a team or two out there that would give Versteeg a shot given his minuscule 2.2m cap hit. There would not be much return for Versteeg.

Marcus Kruger 1yr, $1.375m AAV
Kruger is an intriguing trade piece given his RFA status and cheap contract. He is a great fourth line center and is an above average to elite penalty killer. The Hawks would miss him on the PK, but I think a fourth line of Morin-Regin-Smith makes Kruger expendable.

Johnny Oduya 1yr, $3.375m AAV
Oduya would likely be moved because of his $3.375m cap hit and his impending free agency. I like Hjalmarsson-Oduya pairing and an Oduya trade would leave a hole to fill as the number 4 defenseman

Nick Leddy 1yr, $2.7m AAV
Nick Leddy is the ideal trade candidate because he is an RFA with a lot of upside. For the Hawks, Leddy is making a lot of money for an RFA and will only get more expensive. Leddy currently is the Hawks 5th/6th defender with some PP2. Moving Leddy would allow the Hawks to keep the top 4 D core intact

Michal Rozsival 1yr, $2.2m AAV
Might be hard to move. The Hawks could maybe eat a bit of the cap hit. It would be nice if Rozsival's $2.2m cap hit was off the books and he is a replaceable 5th/6th defender.

In a perfect world, Versteeg and/or Rozsival will be the ones out.

I think a more realistic possibility is Nick Leddy and/or Marcus Kruger.

It would be difficult losing Bickell's size, but I really dislike his contract and getting it off the books would help this year and in the next 2 years.

But Blackhawk fans might have to accept the fact that it could be Sharp or Oduya. Both would be big losses, but it would alleviate the cap and net the most return. Inevitably players like Sharp and Oduya will have to be moved to make room for the Toews/Kane contracts and it might be nice to get one of the moves out of the way
July 30, 2014 5:25 PM ET | Delete
Ridiculous rehash of everything the regulars on the hawk hockey Buzz section have covered...
July 30, 2014 8:24 PM ET | Delete
1 Kruger to Edmonton please.
July 31, 2014 8:37 AM ET | Delete
As you said regarding Sharp, I agree with you when it comes to moving Sharp, not only because you take roughly $6mil off the books but you will get the highest return for him. The downside to any trade that involves Sharp is that you would surely get an above average player or two in return but you do not want to trade him and his hefty cap hit and end up with 1-2 players that would cost around $2-$4mil back...because you are then still right at the cap ceiling.
July 31, 2014 5:07 PM ET | Delete
Marcus Kruger is not going anywhere. No way, no how. Cmon man...
August 3, 2014 3:48 AM ET | Delete
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