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Toews, Kane hit bonuses; Blackhawks over the salary cap by millions

Jun 12, 2010, 4:33 AM EDT

Kane8.jpgYou have to give Dale Tallon credit. He was given free reign to do
whatever was needed to build a Stanley Cup champion and that’s exactly
what he did. He may not have been able to stick with the team due to an
inability to work a fax machine, but he was able to bring a Cup back to
the city after a very, very long time.

Now comes the hardest part
of all: keeping this team together.

We’ve chronicled in the past
how the Blackhawks will be facing salary cap hell next season, but until
now we didn’t realize just how bad things were. Even with the cap
jumping up next season, we were under the impression that the Hawks
would be right up against the cap; instead, the Hawks are actually over
the cap already.

By $4 million. With only 14 players under
contract next season.

Why so much over? Turns out that Patrick
Kane and Jonathan Toews hit on all over their entry-level bonuses this
past season. With the Hawks already hard up against the cap for this
season, the “excess” goes against next year’s cap. From
James Mirtle:

‘A’ Performance Bonuses, meanwhile, are things like number of goals,
assists and points, targets that are set by teams, players and their
agents when the contract is signed and that max out at $850,000 a
season.

Both players maxed out all of their ‘A’ and ‘B’ bonuses this year to
push their team over the cap, meaning that while every other team will
be working with about a $58.5-million cap next season, Chicago’s cap
“penalty” will mean a ceiling of closer to $54.5-million.

The good news is, I guess, that most of the players entering RFA or
UFA status this summer were just role players for the Hawks during their
Stanley Cup run. Then you have players such as Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager,
Niklas Hjalmarsson and Antti Niemi all set to become RFA’s this summer;
those are players you would think the Hawks will want to keep.

But how?

As of right now, the Blackhawks have no ability whatsoever to sign
any more players. They’ll either have to restructure contracts or move
some players in order to free up cap space; then they’ll be lucky to be
able to fill out the rest of the roster with players getting the league
minimum.

The core of the Blackhawks will remain in tact, and I don’t believe
fans will have to worry about this team being blown up just as soon as
they reach the pinnacle of greatness. But expect this team to look very
different next season. Players like Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Dave
Bolland, and even Brian Campbell could be moved this summer in order to
get the Hawks back where they need to be. [Update: Forget Brian Campbell - he has a NTC.]

That still leaves several RFA players to be signed as well, and you wonder if even moving some of those named above will be enough. You know the Blackhawks want to keep Niemi, but how will they be able to afford it?

Stan Bowman, come on down.

  1. Doug - Jun 12, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    The Hawks would love someone to take on Campbell’s bloated contract, but that won’t happen…NTC or no-NTC.

  2. Patrick - Jun 12, 2010 at 11:37 PM

    NHL rules forbid restructuring contracts midterm like is commonly done in the NFL. So they have to either make trades or they can bury players in the minors where they don’t count against the cap.

  3. schiver - Jun 14, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    I love all the Blackhawks fans that were calling this the start of a dynasty. Until the NHL wises up and puts in a salary cap system that works and until teams actually figure out how to pay players so that they can keep them for years without going over the limit, this will happen every year.

  4. Jamie - Jun 14, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    They need to move Huet down to the minors and bury that money and hide it from the cap. Who cares that you have to pay him while he is in Rockford – it would be better to have him there as insurance and to bring up Crawford than to risk out on having 4 to 5 key role players leave because we cant afford them

  5. Wangedwing - Jun 17, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    The Salary cap is what people said would do in the Red Wings. But then, they didn’t have a guy like Ken Holland doing the wrangling. The Blackhawks management team should take a look to the Wings, The wings have managed to keep a very talented core, and most, if not all of its supporting cast and role players intact. The hawks can still continue to win, and play at a high level with the cap, but, they have to get guys like Toews and Kane, and Hossa, to give up a little money for the chance to continue to really compete for the Cup. Holland managed to do this. Those players realized that while they are the core of the skill set, they still need others with similiar skills, tho they may not be quite as talented, to compete annually for the Cup. Holland has always made this abundantly clear, and, the proof is there, that with a Great General Manager a team can stay under the cap, and still compete. Good luck to the Hawks..but don’t mind me while I giggle a little, and think to myself, that Detroit will win the central next year, and, will AGAIN compete for the Stanley cup.

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