Who could Stars poach off the Blackhawks' roster?
The Chicago Blackhawks have 14 players under contract for next season at an estimated $57.5 million. (See the capgeek breakdown here). The cap is supposed to be somewhere around $58.8 million. You can see they could have trouble getting under the salary cap and having 22 to 23 players on their roster.
There are some solutions being kicked around, which include sending goalie Cristobal Huet to the minors (where his $5.6 million salary has to be paid but will not count against the cap) and trading defenseman Brian Campbell along with either a top prospect or solid draft pick so that another team would pick up the six years and $7.1 million a season that is left on Campbell’s contract.
The Stars don’t have the money to make the Campbell situation work, but it would be an interesting option. Obviously, the commitment to Campbell would be ridiculous, but he still is a solid puck-moving defenseman and if the Blackhawks really are desperate you could get them to toss in Dylan Olsen or Hjalmarsson (think what it would mean to Chicago to be rid of Campbell’s contract and you see just how much negotiating strength you would have in this situation). If you were willing to take that kind of money commitment, you could make over your defense in one fell swoop and probably with very little going in the other direction.
The other players who are probably up on the trade market are Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg . I would say the Stars would love Dave Bolland _ a right-handed center who has the offensive upside to be a No. 2 center _ but I just don’t think the Blackhawks would let him go.
Sharp fits the same mold as Bolland , but is older (28) and makes more money ($3.9 million). Again, he would be a great acquisition if the Stars had tons of funds and were willing to unload a couple of players, but that won’t work right now. Versteeg is cheaper ($3.08 million) and younger (24) and would be a great right wing, but the Stars have to fix their defense first before they start looking for additional scoring on the wing.
That leaves one last trick the Stars could try. Hjalmarsson is a restricted free agent, and the Stars could make an offer sheet for him. Under last year’s compensation guidelines, you could offer him a deal that would average $3.013 million a year and only lose a second draft pick as compensation. If you went higher than that (up to $4.52 million) it would cost you a first and a third.
So would Chicago match an offer for $3.013 million? Probably. Would that force them to have to deal someone else? Possibly. Is it worth it to offer Hjalmarrson more than that? I would say no, but I’m open to discussion.