Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blackhawks, Bowman, See Changes Ahead To Stay Under Cap

Stan Bowman's Stanley Cup celebration is once again short-lived, as he must deal with working on next year's roster to fit under the salary cap for the 2015-16 year.  The cap has been set at $71.4 million.  Currently, according to Spotrac.com, there is a mere $6.7 million available to work with.  That will do very little if there are thoughts of resigning any of the unrestricted free agents (Carcillo, Desjardins, Oduya, Richards, Rozsival or Vermette).  There is also the signing of restricted free agents, Marcus Kruger, Joakim Nordstrom and most importantly, Brandon Saad.  Both, Bowman and Saad, have stated they are eager to get a contract done.

Which then leads to, what moves need to be made in order to make room for next year's roster?  Odds are, with the NHL draft coming up at the end of the week, two names, if moved, could clear nearly $10 million off the books. Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell.  

Though both had subpar years in 2014-15, the thought of moving both of these players for draft picks, (The Blackhawks don't have a 1st or 2nd round pick in this year's draft), would make sense.  The trade deadline was fast and furious due to the unfortunate/fortunate injury to Patrick Kane.  Kane was placed on injured reserve, which freed up valuable cap space for two deals. The Blackhawks traded their 1st round pick and defenseman prospect Klas Dahlbeck for Antoine Vermette.  The Blackhawks also traded their 2nd round pick in 2015 & 2016 for Kimmo Timonen.  Both were steep prices, as both of their deals ended at the end of this year, but Bowman was in it to win now, and it paid off.  Rumors have the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers interested in Patrick Sharp, while the Arizona Coyotes seem to have interests in Bryan Bickell.  Both have 2 years remaining on their current deals.

So what does Stan Bowman have up his sleeve?  The dismantle of this team does not seem to be as feared as the 2010 Cup winning team where nearly half of the team did not return the following year.  We will wait and see.  Either way, Bowman will make the necessary moves to keep this team competitive next year, and for years to come.


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