The Chicago Blackhawks are one of a few teams that can truly weaponize their cap space over the next few years. With (more) losing on the horizon we will likely not be handing out large contracts to veteran players. This is the window where Kyle Davidson, in order to reach the cap floor, can truly sell his cap space for important assets.
This weekend there have been many rumors about some high priced players potentially changing teams. Erik Karlsson is both one of the highest scoring players in the NHL (73 points in 54 games) and one of the highest paid players (11.5 million AAV).
It has been rumored that the Edmonton Oilers are interested in Karlsson, however it will be a difficult deal to fit into their current and future cap room. That's where a third team is likely to be involved. Teams like Buffalo, Arizona, Anaheim, Detroit, and Chicago are the 5 teams that can likely look at this as a chance at acquiring an asset to take on some of the deal. Even then, when you look at the rosters and the deals on their docket would a team like Detroit do this given their position in their rebuild? Unlikely, thusly leaving teams like Arizona and Chicago as the most likely teams.
The Blackhawks have a ton of veteran UFAs coming off the books this offseason as well, so it would make sense for us given this would be a deal where the cap hit would be over the next 4 seasons. What would have to come back in this deal is up to the Wirtz family and Kyle Davidson however. What is that money worth in terms of assets back?
For me at least it begins with a future 1st round pick. Assuming the current first round pick goes to the San Jose Sharks, along with a prospect, I'd have to imagine a 2025 to 2026 1st would come to Chicago. If I were San Jose I'd pay down the Karlsson deal by 20-30% to get the cap hit to around 8.25 - 8.5m per. The compensation back should be in the range of their 2023 1st, a good prospect, and a sweetner (prospect or 3rd round pick).
For Chicago to consume 2.5-3m over the next 4 seasons it should cost Edmonton their 2025 1st as well as a lesser pick or prospect immediately. Would Edmonton pay such a steep price to get a 32 year old Erik Karlsson? Two 1sts, a 3rd and 4th, and a good prospect for Karlsson at say 6.5 million? I don't think if I were a GM I'd do this deal, but then again how desperate would you be to make sure McDavid and Draisaitl are happy and staying in town?
Can Kyle Davidson pull something like this off? I honestly don't know, with all the teams involved and moving parts it would be a masterclass in asset management if he did though.