As the 2022-23 season approaches, the Chicago Blackhawks appear to have a fair amount of cap space. That is just an illusion as there are two players under contract that ended their seasons on injured reserve, Jujhar Khaira and Connor Murphy. Since their respective injuries, very little has been heard from either player.
Without counting them, Chicago has a full roster (14 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goalies) according to CapFriendly's list of active players. Khaira and Murphy are both listed under injured reserve, but the season is only about a month away. The combined cap hit from these two players is $5,375,000, which is a sizable chunk of the projected $7,540,704 that they are said to have available. That means that Chicago has about $2,165,704 of cap space available. The roster is more or less set for opening night because Chicago doesn't have the cap space to bring in anyone else.
The obvious question then is, what is going on with these two players? Khaira had to have back surgery which ended his season, and that was announced back in February. Murphy has been out with a concussion and ended his season on injured reserve because of that. It's possible I may have missed it, but there hasn't been much said about either player during the offseason. CapFriendly has them listed as being on injured reserve, so until that status changes we'll all have to assume both players aren't ready to play.
This is nowhere near the disaster Montreal is dealing with, but it's something Kyle Davidson will need to be mindful of. This will be Khaira's last year with Chicago, and if he sits the year out, it's doubtful much would change for the team. Also, his cap hit is less than a million per year, so that's an easy one to manage. Murphy, on the hand, is a much more important player for Chicago, and has a cap hit of over four million dollars, for several years. If he can't play, then that's a problem for Chicago.
Davidson will have to keep an eye on how best to deal with this situation, but Chicago is, at the very least, not in any danger of a cap overage. The worst thing that could happen is that they might have a little bit less flexibility with maneuvering around the cap. Hopefully, for their own health, both players will suit up and skate again as if everything were back to square one.
If not, then Chicago will have two players sidelined by injuries, and the team will be less able to negotiate for assets at the trade deadline. With pre-season games scheduled in a few weeks, there will hopefully be an update on these players and cross your fingers, it's a positive update.