Congrats To The Chicago Blackhawks….Now The Vultures Circle

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, Chicago’s in quite a bind. They have a huge bullseye on their back, and not just because they’ll skate next season with the “defending Cup champ” tag on them. Thanks to some mis-management and foolish free agent signings the Blackhawks are in quite the pickle. They have about $57.6 million on the salary cap next season accounting for just 15 players, with the expected salary cap at the $58.8 million range, give or take a little.

In short, their lineup in October is going to look quite a bit different from what they iced this past playoffs.

Other than Jonathan Toews , Patrick Kane , Duncan Keith , Marian Hossa , Brent Seabrook and Antti Niemi, almost every single signed player has been mentioned as a possibility to be traded for some salary cap relief. To be sure, they’re going to have to wheel and deal a little bit. Might they demote a guy like Brian Campbell ($7.14 million with an amazing six more years to go on his contract) or Cristobal Huet ($5.625 million with two more years) to the minors and eat that salary? Seems hefty and potentially too costly to wash away.

There’s an area for exploitation here, and that’s the name of the game. Chicago may not be interested in trading with Pittsburgh — what would be their rationale to trade a solid player to a potential contender, even if it’s out of conference? On top of that, Pittsburgh really doesn’t have that many young, good, inexpensive players that would be valued by Chicago. If Ray Shero wants to take the next step, it may have to come from poaching a RFA that the Blackhawks just can’t afford to match.

14 Responses to Congrats To The Chicago Blackhawks….Now The Vultures Circle

  1. pezzz123 says:

    To Florida : Cristobal Huet, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, 30th overall

    To Chicago : Ville Koistinen, Scott Clemmensen, Rostislav Olesz

    To Buffalo : Dustin Byfuglien

    To Chicago : Luke Adam, 3rd round pick

    Bury Koistinen, Clemmensen and Olesz

    Resign Andrew Ladd, 2 years, 4.5 million
    Resign Ben Eager, 2 years, 2.5 million
    Resign Adam Burish, 2 years, 1.8 million
    Resign Colin Fraser, 2 years, 1.8 million
    Resign Nicklas Hjalmarsson, 2 years, 5.5 million
    Resign Jordan Hendry, 2 years, 1.6 million
    Resign Antti Niemi, 2 years, 5 million

    Brouwer – Toews – Kane
    Kopecky – Sharp – Hossa
    Ladd – Bolland – Skille
    Eager – Fraser – Burish

    Keith – Seabrook
    Campbell – Hjalmarsson
    ? – Hendry

    Clemmensen (minors)

    Cap hit : 55 million

    3-4 million left to sign 1 forward, 2 d-men and 1 backup goaltender.

    Needs? 1 defensive d-man, 1 veteran backup

    Targets? Brett Clark, Andreas Lilja, Adrian Aucoin, Aaron Ward. Martin Biron, Jose Theodore, Johan Hedberg, Antero Nittymaki.

  2. KingCanada says:

    I hope this is Bryan Burke's cue to go after Dustin Byfuglien and David Bolland!  I dono what it would take to get them tho…  The Hawks will definatly not get fair market value for them but Im sure there will be somewhat of a bidding war on their players.


    Why would Florida want Huet, they already have Vokuon?? I doubt Byfulien will be traded and if he does he will be much more than Adam and a pick…. i think Burish and Eager will be gone, and they don't really contribute too much, and Chicago would not want Clemmensen when they have Crawford in the minors…


    I think both those players are "not for sale". I think Versteeg, Huet, Sopel, Burish, Eager, Fraser, and maybe Campbell, if someone will take him, are the only players that will be traded… They also have Beach, Skille, and Crawford ready to come up

  5. pezzz123 says:

    Florida would want Huet because they're gonna trade Vokoun for picks. They would also take Huet's contract if it meant having Versteeg and the 30th overall for free. They would also trade for Huet if it meant unloading some fat contracts in Koistinen, Stillman and Olesz.

    Byfuglien will be the next to go after Versteeg and Huet if it's not enough. And Adam + a 3rd rounder is a good return for a sequential guy making 3 million per year. Make it a 2nd rounder if you want.  

    Burish and Eager don't contribute too much on the scoresheet, but they're locks on the 4th line.

    Crawford sucks, and Clemmensen would be a salary dump from Florida.


    2010 1st round pick(30th)

    2010 1st round pick(15th)

    Let Madden go thru free agency
    Dump Huet in the minors or let him go to Europe, as I'm sure no NHL team is going to take him with that contract

    2010 1st round pick(15th)


  7. leafmeister says:

    Halak is gonna want a big raise this summer, one that Chicago will certainly be unwilling/unable to afford. Both Seabrook and Byfuglien are going into contract years. Also they just won the Cup with Niemi, I doubt they would dump a prospect and a 1st to get another goalie.

  8. 93killer93 says:


    Sopel(2.333 mil)

    Save around 7mil in cap space. Get 2 decent prospects.

  9. leafit2me says:
    I'm a Leaf fan so this post has a Leaf angle to it:

    – Versteeg would net a late early-mid 2nd rounder…..the latter being more likely. In today's NHL, teams not named TML do not give up 1st rounders easily.

    – Sharp would net a 1st and a mid-lvl prospect but can possibly be snared for less if the team is willing to take back a dead-weight contract (Sopel)
    – Byfuglien would look nice in a Leaf jersey and he would be my first choice over Versteeg if available. Anything over a 2nd rounder would be overpayment.
    – If the TML can find a way to net good picks for Kaberle and Grabovski then I think there maybe a way for BB to get some good talent out of CHI.
    – No matter what, CHI will NOT get value for players being traded for obvious reasons. It would be in their best interest to deal w/ one or at the most 2 NHL teams to resolve their cap issues. 
    – By dealing with the Leafs, for instance, and moving players like Byfuglien, Sharp, & Sopel they move approx $8.9M in cap and acquire at minimum a 1st & 2nd round pick and anywhere from 2-3 mid lvl prospects. What's more is that this helps them keep most of their cup-winning squad in tact. 
  10. nordiques100 says:

    Hawks can keep Sharp.

    What they're going to have to do is drop Sopel, Campbell, Huet, Versteeg.

    That would free up about 18 million in cap space.

    Replacements would be:
    Kyle Beach 1.2 mil
    Corey Crawford 800K

    Jack Skille 1.25 mil
    Ben Eager 1 mil
    Nik Hjalmarsson 2.75 mil
    Antii Niemi 2.5 mil
    Colin Fraser 700K
    Jordan Henry 600K
    Bryan Bickell 700K
    Evan Brophey 750K
    Jake Dowell 500K
    Andrew Ladd 2.25 mil

    That would add 13 mil to the payroll with these 10 bodies.

    They would join: Toews, Hossa, Kane, Sharp, Bolland, Byfuglien, Brouwer, Kopecky, Keith, Seabrook.

    The roster would be 20 players, with roughly 4 mil to spend on the remaining 2-3 roster spots.

    They'll likely try and get 2 more Dmen. They'll have to be cheap about it. So lets say its Randy Jones for 1.25 mil and Mike Mottau for 1 mil. Lets say too they add another PK forward in Adam Mair a solid veteran guy for 750K. That would leave the Hawks roughly 1 mil left in cap space for overages.




    Here, if they need to, they could get a dman at the deadline and have depth here to move Byfuglien back to forward. But his flexibility is very useful here.

    And they're deep enough up front to go without Buf not playing forward.

    As for the guys they have to get rid of, I can see Huet buried in the minors/europe much like how the Caps buried Nylander. He too had a couple years left on his deal.

    As for Campbell, i think if they piggyback their 1st along with him for nothing, they'll be able to find a taker. they can take back like a mid rounder or something.

    Versteeg should bring an ok prospect back, someone in junior preferably who needs seasoning. they arent ready to take on a contract.

    And Sopel should be traded for a mid round pick.

    really this is the only way they're going to keep sharp and of all the players, he is most valuable after Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith and Seabrook nucleus.

  11. hockeyhead says:

    boston cannot take on that salary/s

    next too chicago….the bruins are the worst team with cap space and stupid contracts.


    I thought the Bruins had about 10 million to spend, maybe I'm wrong…

  13. KingCanada says:

    Well the only aforementioned players that can really be cap casualties are Versteeg, Huet, Sopel and Campbell since they have to get rid of cap right?  The other guys u mentioned make the league minimum and will be required on the team to fill slots and be below the cap.  The only way guys like Burish, Eager and Fraser get traded are in a package.  They would be replaced on the team with guys who make the same money.

    I think they would love to get rid of Huet since they want Niemi to start at around 2.5-3.5 which will save them roughly 2 million on goaltending.  There isnt much of a market for him tho considering there are cheaper/better options in the FA market

    Campbell is unmovable, nobody will trade for him trust me.

    So that leaves in ur list only Sopel and Versteeg… Im sure for the right price one of Bolland, Byfuglien, Hjarlmasson, Ladd can also be had.

  14. Kessel_Leafs48 says:

    I like this idea.  heres a trade proposal..

    To Toronto: Dustin Byfuglien

    To Chicago: Keith Aulie
                      Phillipe Paradis 
                      5th round draft pick     
    Toronto gets that top six forward they want without using kaberle.
    Chicago gets that 6'6 206 pound stay at home defensman that has top end potential and will give make the other teams forwards think twice crossing the blueline against Aulie. And they also get another high end potential forward who was a first round draft pick who plays a similiar style as big buff.. to a lesser istent but paradis is faster and can grow into a power forward/goal scorer like big buff. Chicago gets two potential filled players that can fill in the holes in a couple years and they dump off some salary and give them more leisure to sign other players.

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