How the Chicago Blackhawks Can Increase Salary Cap Flexibility

Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Salary cap space has never been an asset for the Chicago Blackhawks. Cap space has always been something that ended up hurting the Blackhawks due to a lack of room. If the team wants to have an affect rebuild, they need to make it an asset.

The Chicago Blackhawks currently have five million in cap space heading into next season. However, the ‘Hawks still need to get Dylan Strome under contract. Chicago has made it clear that they intend to rebuild this roster, but their actions speak louder than words. The Blackhawks need to be making moves that prove they intend to rebuild during this season.

After the 2020-21 season, the Blackhawks will have an average of 19 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly. The team will have the following players coming off the books: Zack Smith (3.25 million), Mattias Janmark (2.25 million), David Kampf (1 million), Lucas Wallmark (925,000), and Nikita Zadorov (3.2 million).

On the Blackhawks Talk podcast, general manager Stan Bowman said the Blackhawks are hoping to increase their cap flexibility. While 19 million at the end of next season does offer a lot of space, Chicago can still do more.

Connor Murphy is signed at 3.85 million for another two years, Ryan Carpenter has two years left on a 1 million dollar contract, and Andrew Shaw is signed at 3.9 million for another two years. Chicago is never going to get rid of Brent Seabrook‘s contract, and honestly, that is okay right now as the team is not looking to push for the playoffs.

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If the Blackhawks want to increase their cap space during the 2021-22 season, then Connor Murphy, Ryan Carpenter, or Andrew Shaw would be a great trade piece this season. Calvin de Haan is another interesting piece, but at 4.5 million, I think the team might have a hard time finding a trade partner, but the same is true with Andrew Shaw, who has had injury problems.

The Blackhawks are going to have to clear some more cap space before they can start to take advantage of the teams up against the cap ceiling. Chicago was taken advantage of many times in the past five years thanks to teams knowing our situation.

The ‘Hawks gave up players like Teuvo Teravainen and Vinnie Hinostroza to clear cap space, and the return on trades for good players was never up to par thanks to the contracts Chicago had to get rid of. Making a trade in desperation can be a great opportunity to take advantage of the other team, and Chicago is setting themselves up to do that.

The Blackhawks have not won a lot of trade over the past five years since the salary cap was always against them, and teams took advantage of that. The ‘Hawks will hopefully flip the script moving forward and can add some wonderful assets while just taking on a few bad contracts.

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The trade deadline is getting closer every day, and you have to think there will be a market for a player like Connor Murphy or Calvin de Haan, even if the return is just a few draft picks. Settle in Blackhawks fans because the Blackhawks cap space should increase by next offseason as the team looks to rebuild.