The Chicago Blackhawks’ long wait to see if Marian Hossa can go on injured reserve ended Tuesday when the NHL came to a logical decision
That it took the NHL multiple months to decide if Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa could go on long-term injured reserve is very fitting of the league. But Tuesday, the league at least did the right thing and deemed Hossa was eligible for LTIR usage.
Hossa is set to miss the entire season due to a skin disorder caused by the equipment Hossa has to wear in the rink. The Athletic’s Scott Powers reported earlier today that an unnamed source confirmed Hossa is being made eligible for LTIR space.
The NHL’s concern was that the Blackhawks were making up an injury in order to get cap relief for Hossa, who has four years remaining on his contract and is 38 years old. Though the Blackhawks become a worse team by not icing Hossa, who still plays younger than his age, this theory has persisted throughout the summer.
After an independent doctor ruled Hossa’s skin condition was worthy of LTIR time, the NHL gave the Blackhawks the ruling today.
What happens next
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The Blackhawks will now be able to move Hossa’s $5.275 million cap hit to long-term injured reserve. This will open up the space necessary for the Blackhawks to sign defenseman Cody Franson, who has been with the team on a professional tryout contract this month.
Here’s Powers’ explanation of the Blackhawks’ upcoming financial situation once Hossa goes on LTIR, joining defenseman Michal Rozsival and his post-concussion issues there:
"With the NHL’s decision finalized, the Blackhawks are expected to place Hossa on long-term injured reserve on the first day of the season. They’re expected to build a roster close to the cap ceiling – the Blackhawks can go up to $75.650 million after putting Michal Rozsival on long-term injured reserve on Monday – and place Hossa on long-term injured reserve. By doing so, the Blackhawks will be able to utilize Hossa’s $5.275 cap hit throughout the season."
This also means the Blackhawks should have some space to add another player at this season’s trade deadline, should they wish to do so.
One reason for this taking so long was cases such as Joffrey Lupul, who the Toronto Maple Leafs have been trying to put on LTIR after he failed a physical. Lupul responded to the report by claiming on Instagram that the Leafs were cheating the system and trying to store him on LTIR for more cap space.
But Lupul failed a second physical today, and Sportsnet is reporting he’ll be eligible for LTIR space as well. Still, the NHL is clearly going to have to address a perceived issue that its teams are trying to skirt salary cap restrictions with players who aren’t seriously injured. Chances are those talks happen during or after this season.