Nov 11, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates his goal against Tampa Bay Lightning with his teammates during a shootout at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The rumor has surfaced this week that the NHL salary cap might not increase next season. This could pose a challenge to many NHL teams if that is the case. Some teams has speculated and planned for the cap to increase significantly. Some experts projected the cap might increase by 12 million dollars. They are many teams that would be affected if the salary cap did not increase, stay the same, and or heaven forbid decrease. The Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, and Tampa Lightning already felt the cap crunch this season, so they would be the MOST affected next season. Other teams are that would be in danger are the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, and the Montreal Canadiens. This is purely speculation and all of it is based one value of the Canadian dollar.
In my mind the Blackhawks might be the most negatively affected. It could similar to the offseason after the 2009-10 season. During that offseason the Blackhawks had to trade Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, and let Antti Niemi walk in free agency. The Blackhawks could potentially lose five players from this current roster if the cap does not increase.
Tough decisions will have to be made because of the Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews extensions kicking in next offseason. With the potential cap crunch Patrick Sharp (5.9 million) and Brent Seabrook (5.8 million) would be prime trade candidates. Both have high salaries and have some value to other teams. Johnny Oduya, Brad Richards, and Michal Rozsival would all be allowed to leave via free agency. Even with all of those potential losses the Blackhawks still might not have enough money to get under the cap. That does not take into consideration Brandon Saad. Brandon Saad is a rising star and certainly due for a pay day this offseason.
The NHL salary cap not going up is a scary thing for a lot of NHL teams but especially the Blackhawks.