According to CapGeek.com, the Blackhawks are still over the salary cap by $2, 216, 795 for the upcoming season. This means, that General Manager Stan Bowman needs to trade at least one player before the games begin on October ninth.
A few Hawks players have been rumored to be on the trading block over the past couple months, including Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, and Bryan Bickell. But as stated by Sharps agent, Rick Curran, the Blackhawks would not be trading Sharp.
“There’s absolutely no truth to it, ” Curran said. “They’re not trading him. He’s the last guy on the list who they would trade. He’s not available.
“Believe me, I’ve spoken to Stan a couple times, as recently as a few days ago. There’s absolutely no truth to it.”
Seeing as though the Hawks re-signed Bryan Bickell to a four-year extension before last season, it is not very likely that they will be trading him to another team. However, if he doesn’t perform next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hawks cut the cord and trade him somewhere else.
Johnny Oduya is a higher probability target to be traded before the season because he will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2014-2015 season. His $3.375 million cap hit would be enough for Stan Bowman to think about trading and getting a draft pick, or a couple young prospects that could be a good fit for the Hawks in the future. As far as Oduya is concerned, he enjoys playing on the Blackhawks, and he hopes to continue to play for them in the future, but if not he understands that it is a business.
“I wouldn’t say nervous, but you know the reality of the business, ” Oduya said. “And I’ve been around it for a couple of these situations where you might be a little bit over. Or, on the other hand, you’re the cheaper player and you can fit in in a different way. It’s not really much you can do but realize the situation and you prepare for the season the same way.”
“I think they’re happy with my play from last year. Like I said, it’s a new situation for next year. We’ll see what happens. I’m very, very happy to be here. This is the place where I really enjoy playing hockey, and I’ve loved it here so far. And I think I’ll like it in the future, too. If that’s not the case, I’ll go somewhere else.”
But don’t throw all of your chips in the pot on those players alone, there are plenty of other things that Bowman could do in order to be under the salary cap.
Kris Versteeg is a player that could be on the trading block as well. It was very obvious last season that Versteeg didn’t quite fit in with the Blackhawks system of fast-paced, relentless hockey. He posted only 10 goals and 19 assists to his stat sheet last season as a member of the Hawks, and he said that he came back too soon from a knee injury the season before. Are the Hawks willing to wait and see if a newer, healthier, Versteeg emerges, and is he going to come back and play with the potential that he once showed? Or would it be a better option for them to trade him? That remains to be seen.
Another trade possibility that we could see happen is the Blackhawks getting rid of Nick Leddy, Michael Rozsival, or a combination of the two of them. Rozsival seems to be slowing down and is getting old as a defenseman. Leddy hasn’t made that leap into being a top-4 defensive player, even though he has played in the NHL for four years. There are some young players in Rockford, such as Adam Clendening and Carl Dahlström, waiting for a chance to show what they can do at the NHL Level.
It all depends on how Stan Bowman and the front office feel about their young players being ready to come up. They have some tough decisions to make in the near future, but regardless of what happens, trust that they have a plan to create another Stanley Cup contending team this year, and for years to come.
Photo Credit: ESPN