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Chicago Blackhawks, NHL Receive $75 Million Salary Cap For 2017-18

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Apr 9, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; A detailed view of the NHL logo on the helmet of Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; A detailed view of the NHL logo on the helmet of Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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After some speculation in the last two weeks, the NHL’s 2017-18 salary cap is officially set at $75 million, which is decent news for the Chicago Blackhawks

First, we thought the NHL’s salary cap would stay at $73 million for the 2017-18 season. Then, we believed it would sit at a minimum of $75 million, possibly going up to $77.5 million. We’ve officially landed at that middle number, which is decent news for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The league announced today the NHL’s salary cap will sit at $75 million for the upcoming season. This is a jump of $2 million from the previous campaign. This was reported by SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.

According to Cap Friendly, the Blackhawks were approximately $4.5 million over a $73 million cap, though this is even before the upcoming expansion draft. That number will fall to roughly $2.5 million with today’s announcement of a growing cap.

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Then we have the expansion draft, which will almost certainly see either Marcus Kruger or Trevor van Riemsdyk plucked from the Blackhawks. Though it sounds as though both could head to Las Vegas at some point, let’s just work out the numbers with one or the other moving.

Should Kruger be picked, that’s push the Blackhawks below the cap by roughly $562,000. Should van Riemsdyk be the Golden Knights’ selection, the Blackhawks would still be over the cap by close to $1.7 million.

What this cap means for the Blackhawks

Now, let’s say that both Kruger and van Riemsdyk are eventually moved to Vegas, as has been widely speculated. That would put the Blackhawks about $1.39 million below a $75 million salary cap.

That would include 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders, putting the Blackhawks three short of a full regular-season roster. Cap Friendly does not have recent defenseman free agent signee Jan Rutta among that group though. His $925,000 cap hit would push the Blackhawks within almost $463,000 of the cap.

Considering it’d be impossible for the Blackhawks to find two players who each make half that number in order to complete their roster, that means even a $2 million push in the cap won’t keep them from needing to move another name.

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  • The good news behind the cap raise, though, is that once said big name is moved, the Blackhawks will have an extra $2 million in maneuverability they weren’t planning on having before. This could mean the signing of a low-cost free agent who they weren’t expecting to be able to afford.

    Still decisions to be made

    Of course, none of this even includes decisions the Blackhawks have to make on their free agents. Johnny Oduya will certainly be gone, but Brian Campbell, Andrew Desjardins, Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco all need a new contract as well.

    The first three of those names were exposed in the expansion draft today by the Blackhawks, but we can safely say they won’t be selected. So that’s more money the Blackhawks could have to throw at guys, depending on their desire to keep them.

    On that note, it was also reported today the Blackhawks have already offered Rasmussen a contract, but that he turned it down. So that’s an interesting wrinkle to add.

    Jurco, however, was protected by the Blackhawks. So they are definitely planning to re-sign him. That contract alone will push the Blackhawks over the cap with Rutta also included on the roster, underscoring the necessity of the Blackhawks moving a big name this offseason despite the cap jump.

    Next: Blackhawks Reveal Expansion Draft Protection List

    This news about the cap will do little to assuage the fears of Blackhawks fans over the possibility of losing a favorite player. But it can at least help set a sort of road map for a team looking to get out of salary cap hell once again.

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