Mar 6, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) reacts with right wing Patrick Kane (88) after scoring a goal during the third period at the United Center. Chicago defeats Columbus 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Now first, let me explain myself. The Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane extensions will get done. I don’t know of anyone who thinks they won’t. But they may have to wait, probably until the Blackhawks convention later on this month.
Due to something that is known as “tagging rules” plus being currently over the salary cap, some of the current Blackhawks will be packing their bags and moving to new destinations. These tagging rules, in summary, the Hawks cannot exceed salary commitments for next year that are over this year’s $69 million salary cap.
So the player in question has to get the Hawks cap this year under the number and also is under contract past this season so next year’s number is free for the extensions. The players that meet both of the requirements (plus those that are more likely to be traded) are: Kris Versteeg, Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozival, Patrick Sharp, Nick Leddy, Brent Seabrook and Bryan Bickell. Now from this list a number of names have been linked to being moved: Versteeg, Oduya and Sharp.
If Sharp were to be moved, it would have been done at the draft so that leaves Versteeg and Oduya. It no understatement that the Versteeg reunion hasn’t gone the way the Blackhawks brass drew it up when they traded Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen for the former Hawk. But finding a team to take Versteeg seems to be the problem. He does have a friendlier cap number due to the Panthers retaining some salary. A team that needs to hit the minimum cap floor is probably the best bet for moving Versteeg.
Oduya is a different case. He still has the ability to be a top-4 defenseman, if partnered with the right guy. After what money was given out to the free-agent defensemen, Oduya’s cap hit is nothing. There are a number of teams that lost out in that market or still need to add and Oduya fits that mold perfectly.
Kane and Toews are going to get their money. It’s a nervous process for Hawks fans, wanting these two marquee players wearing the Indian Head for life. But it’s going to take some phone calls and creativity from the man in charge Stan Bowman. This isn’t his first rodeo dealing with cap issues and contract extensions. But for now, there is a bit of roster flux and that will delay the process just a bit. But by the end of the month, Kane and Toews will be Hawks for life and another Hawk will be wearing a new jersey next season.