Sport What should Blackhawks do with cap space after Hossa trade?

07:02  13 july  2018
07:02  13 july  2018 Source:   nbcsports.com

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With news out that Hossa is eligible for LTIR, here's our assumption as to what the # Blackhawks might do in order to maximize the cap space . pic.twitter.com/EPP1y0BRrR. When Bowman joined Blackhawks Pregame Live on Feb. 8 — three weeks before the trade deadline — to acknowledge

Team roster, salary, cap space and daily cap tracking for the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team and their respective AHL team. Hossa , Marián. No Trade Clause. ELC.

a man wearing a helmet© Getty

The most fun part of the Marian Hossa trade is pondering the possible future trades it opens up thanks to improved cap space for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Cap space estimates tend to be tenuous at best in July, but that’s especially true with Chicago, as the Blackhawks still have some roster spots to sort out. Still, Cap Friendly’s estimate of the Blackhawks having about $8.55 million in room seems fair enough.

It’s also plausible that the Blackhawks might find even more breathing room. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders if the return of Marcus Kruger may spur the Blackhawks to move Artem Anisimov, whose $4.55M cap hit runs through 2020-21.

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Chosen 12th overall in the 1997 NHL Draft, Hossa began his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators. In the five years prior to being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Dany Heatley, he had averaged 35 goals in the Chicago Blackhawks Should Avoid Big Free Agents, Commit to Youth Blackhawk Up.

the Blackhawks already have .1 million committed to 14 players, including Marian Hossa , for Presumably the remaining cap space and/or trades will go primarily to addressing that problem by Anisimov should be easily movable after July 1 once he can only block trades to a limited number of

Even if they don’t trade Anisimov to cut costs, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman gave himself opportunities to make a splashy move this summer. Considering that Chicago missed the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and eyes an aging, top-heavy core, landing a substantial asset could be huge for a “win-now” team.

(Especially since, as promising as Adam Boqvist is as the eighth pick of this past draft, he could be a bit of a project at just 17 years old.)

Here are some of the most enticing possible trade targets for the Blackhawks, keeping in mind that there aren’t any obvious difference-makers remaining on the free agent market.

Artemi Panarin We might as well get the most obvious name out of the way, considering how much Bowman loves bringing back former Blackhawks. (It’s quite fitting that Panarin was traded out of Chicago in such a move to land Brandon Saad.)

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Blackhawks set to have millions in salary cap space this offseason. Shedding Anisimov’s .55 million cap hit would be a big way to add further flexibility, as would a potential trade of what’s left of Hossa ’s contract.

After missing the 2017-18 season with a progressive skin disorder, Marian Hossa has listed his Gold Coast He has three years left on his contract that carries a .275 million cap hit. "What I do know is that When Bowman joined Blackhawks Pregame Live on Feb. 8 — three weeks before the trade

There’s probably a fascinating subplot to ponder from Columbus’ perspective. If they know Panarin’s gone, would they bet against Chicago rebounding by asking for significant draft assets for “The Bread Man?”

That’s a debate – maybe a post – for another day. Let’s focus on the Blackhawks’ side of an equation, instead.

Panarin remains in the meat of his prime at just 26, and he’s quite a value at $6M, though that cap hit expires after this coming season. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility for Panarin to ink an extension at some point with Chicago, as “The Windy City” ranks as the sort of big market he’d prefer. (Though maybe he’d really want to go big and merely eye New York or Los Angeles?) With Kruger, Cam Ward, and others coming off the cap in summer 2019, the money would likely be there … although a pricey Panarin extension would make a top-heavy team even more imbalanced.

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@CapFriendly. Your source for NHL player contract details, team salary cap tracking, draft information, CBA information and other salary related tools such as Armchair-GM. Yesterday Yup 45mins after I tweeted this thx.

Hossa has four years remaining on his current contract, with a .275 million cap hit per season. Earlier this week, the NHL announced that the salary cap will be million for the 2017-18 season. If the Blackhawks spend up to that million mark, they could utilize Hossa ’s entire .275 million

The longer term situation is already fascinating, but Panarin would be a great find even if Chicago only wanted to bet big on 2018-19.

The Russian winger generated a career-high 82 points last season, emphatically proving that he can score without Patrick Kane. It probably should have already been obvious that they enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, but Kane’s slight – but noteworthy – slippage in production cemented such notions.

Panarin’s game-breaking ability would make him a huge “get,” and his familiarity with Chicago and the Blackhawks organization couldn’t hurt.

He likely wouldn’t be too easy to pry from Columbus, though.

Max Pacioretty “Patches” doesn’t seem long for Montreal, considering the rumblings about a lack of contract extension negotiations and the team’s reported urgency in trading him.

Compared to Panarin, Pacioretty brings some advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • He’s cheaper, at least in 2018-19, as Pacioretty’s cap hit is $4.5M.
  • *cough* some might say that his GM might be, um, easier to swindle.
  • Pacioretty has a larger body of work in the NHL, generating 30+ goals five times, and playing 626 regular-season games.
  • “Patches” also literally has a larger body than Panarin. Perhaps the Blackhawks would perceive him as more attuned for the playoffs? (That’s a stretch, of course, if Bowman merely watched Panarin’s work against the Caps. Then again, NHL teams often march to the beat of their own drums …)

Cons

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The Blackhawks still could make some other moves to increase that cap space , such as trading off Could Chicago find a team looking to reach the salary cap floor that would take on Hossa ’s .275 AAV Could Connor Murphy at a .85 million cap hit be seen as money the ‘ Hawks should shed?

Marian Hossa had 186 goals and 229 assists in eight seasons with the Blackhawks . The Hawks can continue to put him on LTIR, but more likely will pursue a trade . But the Hawks didn’t utilize most of the cap space , and Hossa ’s absence was felt far more than his cap hit ever was.

  • Pacioretty’s a little older at 29.
  • He’s coming off of a tough season. Pacioretty barely scored more points (37) in 2017-18 as he scored goals (35) the year before.
  • The American winger seems to be more focused on an extension than Panarin. If Chicago’s more interested in a rental, that could be a stumbling block.

Few players have scored more goals than Pacioretty since he broke through with 33 in 2011-12. One can dream of big things if he were paired with an elite center, or at least better linemates.

And that $4.5M cap hit would really keep other options open for the Blackhawks or other bidders.

Jeff Skinner and/or Justin FaulkThe Blackhawks and Hurricanes have done business before, including the Teuvo Teravainen – Bryan Bickell trade, not to mention Carolina paying big money for former Blackhawks backup Scott Darling.

The Hurricanes could feasibly move one or both of Skinner and Faulk, and by pulling some strings, it’s not even that outrageous to imagine Chicago landing each player. (Again, it would require some maneuvering.)

Like Panarin and Pacioretty, Skinner is entering the final year of his current contract. In his case, he carries a $5.725M cap hit.

With three 30+ goal campaigns and three additional 20+ goal seasons to his name (not to mention 579 regular-season games played), it’s kind of startling that Skinner is only 26. He’s only missed three games total in the last three seasons – he appeared in all 82 last season – putting most of his health fears to rest.

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What the Blackhawks may do with the extra cap space they will have after placing Marian Hossa on the long-term injured reserve. The Brandon Saad trade seems to be a move to try and help aid the loss of Hossa with Saad’s two-way play, but if Saad is your replacement for Hossa , who is replacing

Ward should provide more stability for the Blackhawks now. The Hurricanes do have more than enough cap space to add a Tavares though, so perhaps Waddell will be active in free agency after Snapshots: Hossa , Zadina, Brassard. Canucks’ Offseason Signings Were Critical To Improve Team.

Skinner is a fantastic skater who’s rarely shy about firing the puck. One might downplay his strong possession stats thanks to sometimes-heavy offensive deployment, but those numbers don’t hurt either.

He’s never appeared in a playoff game during his NHL career, so Skinner would probably be even hungrier to reach the postseason than his would-be Blackhawks teammates.

Faulk, 26, could end up being the best consideration of them all, because he’s the sort of dynamic defenseman the Blackhawks generally lack beyond Duncan Keith.

Since 2014-15, Faulk’s scored 56 goals, the seventh-best total among NHL defensemen. Only Brent Burns (85), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (70), and Erik Karlsson (63) lead Faulk by a significant margin.

While he’s not considered an elite shutdown-type guy, his possession stats show promise, and he comes in at an affordable $4.833M cap hit. One nice perk is that Chicago would land extra cost certainty with Faulk compared to other options in this post, as Faulk’s cap hit runs for an additional season (through 2019-20).

Erik Karlsson – Look, it’s tough to imagine Chicago pulling off such a heist, considering that repeated bids to contend leave them with limited futures.

Still, it would be foolish not to at least mention Karlsson, particularly if the Senators realize they can only shop the superstar as a rental. With a $6.5M cap hit, Chicago could easily afford Karlsson … for a season, at least.

***

The Blackhawks would pop some champagne if they could merely land one of Panarin, Pacioretty, Skinner, Faulk, or even Karlsson. It remains to be seen if they can entice any of those sellers to take a deal.

Moving Hossa’s contract encourages imaginations to run as deep as Gino’s Pizza, though. If nothing else, few teams have more incentive to go all-in than the Blackhawks.

Who would you go after, if anyone, if you were in Bowman’s shoes?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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