With the season officially wrapped up, we can now get comfy in our la-z-boy GM armchairs. The Hawks are in a much better position this time around, and a cup purge won’t be necessary to the same extent. This upcoming season, the cap drops to 64.3 million, and the whole league will be doing a little bit of purging to make it work. With the Hawks using their amnesty buyout on Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz, they’ll free up a much needed six million in cap space. So here is a refresher on who needs to be resigned on the current Hawks squad.
Michal Handzus – $2,500,000 UFA, Marcus Kruger – $900,000 RFA
Viktor Stalberg – $875,000 UFA , Jamal Mayers – $650,000 UFA
Bryan Bickell – $541,667 UFA, Michal Rozsival – $2,000,000 UFA
Nick Leddy – $1,116,666 RFA, Ray Emery – $1,150,000 UFA
- Resigining: The Hawks brass already stated that Bickell is a top priority. Between Bickell’s public statements of taking a hometown discount and the Hawks publicly talking about the resigning, I can’t see this not happening. Bowman has been high on Kruger and Leddy, so I feel that they are a lock to be with the team next year.
- Unsigned: Stalberg will most likely be leaving the team, which should come as no surprise to anyone. Stalberg and his agent have made it clear that they have been unhappy with the minutes he has been getting with the Hawks. Mayers is deciding if he should retire, and Handzus will probably go unsigned in favor of bringing up some youth. Emery stated that he wanted to stay with Chicago, but he is due for a raise that the Hawks can’t afford. Also, there wouldn’t be much point to signing Antti Raanta and not using him. That leaves us with Michal Rozsival who was a solid third pairing defenseman. His age and notoriously bad knees would be the key factor in him being left unsigned
- Trade: Bolland scored the cup winning goal after a season in which he was plagued with injuries. He has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of 3.75 million. He is a fan favorite, but with the amount of time he spent injured the past few seasons, it’s hard to see the value of that contract. The trade rumors are already swirling around him only four days removed from winning the cup.
Emery: Emery could end up in a few different places. Edmonton could use a solid confident goalie, and that’s what Emery could provide in spades. Columbus is stuck with Bobrovsky playing hardball with the NHL and the KHL, and if Bobrovsky leaves, Emery would be a good option. Finally, Philidelphia could use a stop gap goalie while they rebuild their back-end.
Stalberg: I could see Stalberg going to a team that could use a little bit of an offensive punch, or a team where he could be slotted top six. The Panthers could be a possibility since relying on Jack Skille is never a good idea. Stalberg’s size and speed could be a great addition while playing with Huberdeau. The other team that could use his skill set would be Montreal. They have a solid back-end but could use Stalberg to help deepen a shallow offense.
Handzus: It’s possible he could stay a Hawk, but the odds are against it. If he doesn’t retire he might have bought himself some looks with his solid performance as a Hawk. With all the signings the Jets need to make, I could see Handzus signing there for cheap. He won’t be a second line center anywhere, but he has shown he can still contribute at a high level.
Rozsival: He is a solid third pairing, and I could see a young team like Edmonton or the Islanders picking him up. The guy isn’t going to win a Norris Trophy, but he will help stabilize any team that needs to shore up their blue line.