Jun 11, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is interviewed during media day in preparation for game one of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, Stan Bowman spoke with the media and acknowledge the big dark rain cloud hovering over the Blackhawks at the start of training camp.
The Blackhawks are over the salary cap limit. They have been for quite a while (since the Brad Richards signing) and to most everyone’s surprise, the problem has not been address.
Many assumed Bowman would take care of it at the draft, unloading Johnny Oduya. There also the circling rumors about Patrick Sharp getting shipped elsewhere, but those were quickly silenced by his agent.
Time continued to pass, and inactivity from the Blackhawks front office continue. Now, with training camp underway, Bowman has said that the salary cap issue will be resolved “soon”.
With the regular season right around the corner, “soon” better mean within the next week or two. Ever since this problem hit the mainstream press, the easy solution has always been a trade. Oduya’s contract is expiring and looks relatively cheap compared to the rest of the market. Kris Vertsteeg can probably be moved with no problems, as long as the Hawks add some prospect/pick to the mix. Talks of Nick Leddy being moved have ramped up, although that seems completely against Bowman’s philosophy.
So those are the names being thrown around. But could the Hawks find a way around getting under the cap via trade?
The trade market is a hard one to crack and Bowman is one of the best in the business at finding the code, but teams know the Hawks need to get under the cap and will use that during the negotiations.
Training camp is sure to bring out reports of players being banged up and bruised. Is it possible the Hawks use the LTIR to get under the cap?
Long Term Injury Reserve, for those unfamiliar with the term, is used by teams to exceed the upper cap limit while keeping a player on the roster. The player put on LTIR has to miss at least 10 games and 24 days.
Time is not on the side of Stan Bowman and using the LTIR on a guy like Kris Versteeg is well within the realm of possibility. Knowing Bowman, he would rather have the salary cap space to be able to add a piece during the season if need be. More than likely, Bowman will attack the trade market first and hardest hoping to get a deal done and get this headache out-of-the-way.
The quicker the Hawks are under the cap, the quicker the focus can get to being back on the team on the ice and not on the budgetary concerns of the front office.