NHL News

Chicago Blackhawks: NHL Salary Cap Could Increase To $76 Million

By Sean Fitzgerald
Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) poke checks the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks center Tanner Kero (67) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) poke checks the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks center Tanner Kero (67) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) poke checks the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks center Tanner Kero (67) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) poke checks the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks center Tanner Kero (67) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Some good news came about during the Chicago Blackhawks’ four-game break in the form of a possibly higher salary cap

With the Chicago Blackhawks returning to action tonight, all eyes are focused on the ice. The team will have Johnny Oduya return for the first time since 2014-15.

My focus is always two-fold, one eye on the present and one on the future. My eye on the future blinked and had to do a double take after reading the following tweet from Chris Johnston of SportsNet.

Was I reading that correctly? The NHL salary cap reportedly may rise next season. I had read multiple reports from CSN, Second City Hockey and others that the salary cap would stay stagnant next season year.

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Now we get the great news that the cap is projected to increase by up to $3 million. This would be the largest increase since 2013-14, when the cap jumped up $4.7 million.

This is great news because the Blackhawks are always right up against the salary cap. According to Cap Friendly, the Blackhawks have $66,997,628 in money committed to players 16 players and 28 contracts on the books for next season.

Their bonus potential is $650,000 for next season as well, so players like Artemi Panarin could earn more than their current salary and take money away from next year’s cap. 

Chicago Blackhawks’ free agency impact

The ’Hawks do not have any players due significant raises next season, but they do have restricted and unrestricted free agents. Tanner Kero, Dennis Rasumussen, Tomas Jurco, Michal Kempny and Scott Darling are restricted free agents, while Brian Campbell, Oduya and Andrew Desjardins are unrestricted free agents.

Of the free agents, here are musings on them. I fully expect the Blackhawks to resign Kero and Rasmussen to modest deals.

Jurco is playing for a contract and might be waived or traded in the offseason. Kempny will also be an interesting case. I am unsure on how the coaching staff feels about him. He could return, or his rights could be traded.

Darling should be given the chance to start for a team if he wants, which probably won’t happen in Chicago.

Campbell should return on another one-year deal. Oduya will get a better deal from someone else for more money. The Oduya deal is contingent on his health. Desjardins is gone unless he signs a two-way contract. If he signs a two-way contract, he can be sent to Rockford.

Next: Ranking Chicago's Biggest West Playoff Threats

Even better for the Blackhawks, the cap could go as high as $76 million if the NHLPA enacts the Escalator clause. It’ll be an interesting offseason, one GM Stan Bowman will definitely keep his eye on.

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