Like many teams, the Chicago Blackhawks are going to be affected by how much the salary cap next season jumps (or doesn’t jump). Early estimates were that monies available to pay players could increase by as much as $7 million, but the NHL being on pause means things could change.
While NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirms the NHL and NHLPA can decide on a salary cap number for next season outside of the CBA formula, speculation is that the number won’t jump nearly as high as early projections had estimated. Some teams will be making new plans if this is the case, expecting that the cap could stay flat and not jump at all.
One team worried about what happens, according to Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun Times, is the Chicago Blackhawks. He notes that if the cap remains at $81.5 million (or anywhere close), it’ll leave the Blackhawks only $8 million to re-sign Corey Crawford, Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik and Drake Caggiula. Many of these players — specifically, Crawford, Kubalik and Strome will command salaries at or above $3 million or $4 million. Pope also writes, “Strome’s back-to-earth season has decreased his value, sure, but Kubalik’s 30-goal rookie eruption and Crawford’s stellar campaign have elevated their stocks.”
What Will the Blackhawks Do?
The first step might be buying out defenseman Olli Maatta and center Zack Smith to free up an additional $5.5 million. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks would then have to replace both players with efficient but less costly options.
Next, the Blackhawks need to cross their fingers. Pope writes:
But even if all those dominoes fall Bowman’s way, the Hawks still will struggle to retain the same below-average roster they fielded this season, much less make necessary improvements. Bringing in outside free agents would be unfeasible.source – ‘Postponed season, lost NHL revenue might affect Blackhawks’ free-agency plans’ – Ben Pope – Chicago Sun Times – 03/15/2020
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