One million dollars. That seems to be the magic number for Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks front office this offseason. A cap crunch was coming, and we thought we knew who some of the roster causalities could be. Brandon Saad was not on many people’s initial list, but he is indeed gone, and his trade has been talked about at length. Despite not having to fork over $6 million per year for Saad over the next six seasons, the Blackhawks still find themselves needing to shed salary.
Marcus Kruger is still a restricted free agent, and the Blackhawks are looking to work out a deal with him. Johnny Oduya has openly stated that he wants to return to the Blackhawks, and he is waiting for them to figure out their salary situation before looking elsewhere. The cap situation is still a fluid one for the Blackhawks.
Just from taking a look at the numbers, the Blackhawks currently sit at $72.7 million against the cap next season. The cap for 2015-16 is $71.4 million. Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell have been brought up as players who could be moved to get Chicago under the cap. No matter how many of the three wind up being moved, there’s no denying Bowman’s masterful work has already put together a solid roster for the 2015-16 season.
Da Windy City
All of those players will be key contributors to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015-16. Teravainen was part of a killer third line in the playoffs that was scoring goals and giving the Blackhawks another offensive option late in games.
Desjardins, who took a pay cut to re-sign with the Blackhawks, anchored a fourth line that was defensively sound and chipped in some scoring.
Darling was and still is the backup goaltender, and he picked up some big wins against Nashville during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Van Riemsdyk, after returning from multiple injuries, was inserted back into the Blackhawks’ defensive rotation when the blue line was shorthanded against Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Final. He played well enough and showed good instincts on offense and defense during his short regular-season run.
Dano and Panarin are two young forwards that plan to slot into the top nine, helping out the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Bowman received a lot of flak for giving Toews and Kane their big contracts, and rightly so because they were among the reasons Saad was unable to return. But what he should get credit for is securing important depth players with team-friendly deals in an effort to help the team win another Cup in 2015-16.
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