May 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) during the second period of game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks: Will This Be Marian Hossa’s Last Season?

Marian Hossa has only been with our beloved Chicago Blackhawks since 2010, but it’s already hard to picture the Hawks without him, and for good reason. Hossa’s arrival helped mark the end of the near 50-year-long Stanley Cup drought in Chicago, and his presence and play helped the Hawks hoist the Cup once again several years later.

Hoss has been instrumental to the Blackhawks’ success, making invaluable contributions in nearly every facet of their gameplay with his unrivaled two-way play. However, after a near twenty year career in the NHL, will the 2014-2015 season be the last time Hossa dons the indian-head sweater?

The Blackhawks understandably locked up Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews for eight years at a premium price, and while the cap hit from those deals will diminish over the years, the biggest squeeze they’ll put on the Hawks’ payroll will be in the 2015-2016 season. Tough decisions will have to be made, and Marian Hossa may be one of them.

At 35, Hossa is no spring chicken, but he’s demonstrated time and again that age is just a number, and by all means looks very likely to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Gordy Howe (or more recently Teemu Selanne) and keep producing as a player into his forties.

It’s this assumption that may make the 2014-2015 season Hossa’s last in Chi-Town. Hossa is barely halfway through the twelve-year contract he signed with the Blackhawks in 2009, which takes $5.3 million out of the cap each year. This is less than the chunk fellow forward Patrick Sharp takes out of the cap at just under $6 million a year, but at least on paper, Sharp has more upside from an age (Sharp is 32) and injury history standpoint, whereas Hossa’s age and track record of injuries make him a bit more risky to bet in the long term.

Of course Hossa may make all the aforementioned moot by simply retiring after next season, but Hoss strikes me as one of those players that harbors a deep love for the game of hockey and will keep skating as long as his body allows. Plus, Hossa is coming off a strong, 60 point season, indicating he’s got more than enough fuel left in the tank.

Even so, Hoss may end up running out his gauge elsewhere. The prospect may seem frightening, but the silver lining here is Hossa’s heir apparent Brandon Saad is coming off one of his best seasons as a Blackhawk and his potential seems endless. Saad will be a restricted free agent next season, so it’ll be interesting to see if Hawks GM Stan Bowman agrees Saad is Hossa incarnate by how many zeros and years are in Saad’s contract.

What do you think of Hossa’s future?

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Marian Hossa

  • 2dogs

    Toews and Hossa are by far the best overall forwards on the hawks. Huge loss if he’s gone after next season.

    • E-Sauce88

      You are absolutely right….I would go as far as to say that although they are not the most dynamic duo in the league…they ARE the most complete…they do all the little stuff that only true hockey fans understand…

  • raabhimself13

    Hossa if he retires makes us lose close to two mil in penalties for every year for the remainder of his contract if anything I hope he is helpful and forfeits some of his contract dollars toward the end of his deal to allow the hawks and himself to sign back his teammates or free agents

    • E-Sauce88

      Can you do that? How exactly does that work?

  • Elbert Hidalgo-Solis

    I think Hoss is staying…as good as he is…his contract is the type all the other teams have bought out to avoid future penalties…the hawks already have used their 2 compliance buy outs so its all going to come down to hossa’s health and desire to play..the hawks best bet is to rest him as much as possible(a luxury we have) now. Play him between 60-70 games with no back to backs…but he’ll probably retire before his contract is up…i doubt he’ll play 4yrs for $1mil a season…

  • flan50

    I will be upfront and say, unequivocally, that Hoss is my favorite player. Now, that is no slight on The Captain, who I also love, but Hoss, to me, just epitomizes everything good about an NHL star – and a star athlete period – skill, dedication, leadership, humbleness, respect. You just can’t ask more from a professional athlete – simply a class act. It really does seem Hoss has been a Blackhawk for longer than its really been. If he is gone while still successful, it is going to leave a big void – on the ice and in the locker room. Yes, Toews is the captain and #1 focal point as a leader, but don’t dismiss the respect Hoss has in the locker room (as well as around the entire league) and the professional example he sets for the younger players. I know it is going to be a tough decision, and I don’t envy Bowman’s cap task the next few years, but I hope the Hawks bite the bullet and find a way to keep #81 where he belongs until he does, indeed, retire. I just have so much confidence whenever I see The Captain and #81 hit the ice together!

    • michael garneau

      Well said flan50.

  • Thomas Löf

    Make a trade with Dale Tallon and send Hossa to Florida. Trade Leddy to Minnesota for a 1st round pick.
    Keep Sharp, Oduya and Bickell :)

  • BW929

    I believe that he could be allowed to retire due to a medical reason (back?) which, if allowed by the league (they have the option to review to ensure no circumventing of the CBA – Hossa’s contract has already been reviewed once), would eliminate his cap hit entirely. More likely is that he will play this year plus one more (assuming he’s healthy) and the Hawks will be forced to make some difficult choices, like trading Sharp, Seabrook, or another $4M+ salary to remain cap compliant, even though the cap will continue to go up thanks to new TV deal.

  • JoeGrant

    Hossa is my favorite player. Incredibly hard working at both ends, phenomenal puck control, strong physically and a smart and respectful person. Just a great athlete!

  • michael garneau

    Wow. As far as i am concerned Hossa and Hawks both start with H. He is more than simply valuable. He is the ultimate responsible forward and his loss will be huge. Unfortunately this will come down to a financial decision but if he leaves the loss will be grave.

  • weakglovehand

    the recapture penalty to the Hawks if he retires next year is 2.625M per year til the contract ends. If he waits til 2016 then it goes up to 3.765M, 2017 4.275M because the contract was front loaded but taken over 12 years. So Hossa retiring isn’t as much of a benefit as it may seem, so trading him anywhere but to Florida, where Tallon would be able to take the cap hit, is unlikely.

  • Bradley Joseph Kowalczyk

    What happens if he “retires”?