The Chicago Blackhawks have a lot to improve upon heading into the playoffs.
When healthy, the Blackhawks can be considered one of the "elite" teams in the NHL.
When not, it becomes all the more important to play as a team and generate wins based off of hard work and a little bit of puck-luck.
Inconsistency may end up costing the Blackhawks in the postseason this year, but one thing is for sure, the Blackhawks' current lineup will look very familiar next season.
With the way the salary cap is set up this year, and possibly next, it looks as if the Blackhawks' roster will remain the same.
The main reason is because of the current $64.3 million salary cap, which can either go up or down next season.
Yes, the Blackhawks' salary cap problems from two years ago are gone, but that doesn't mean GM Stan Bowman will be able to coast into next season without making a few slight adjustments concerning contracts.
The Blackhawks currently have $42 million in cap space reserved for eight players that make up the core of the team.
These players include Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Depth players will account for another $15 million in cap space, and that's not including free agents Johnny Oduya and Jamal Mayers.
The Blackhawks will also have to find another goalie, as Ray Emery will also become a free agent after this season.
Bringing up potential future Blackhawks players like Brandon Saad and Mark McNeill will also tigthen cap space in the coming years.
The real problem comes to light when figuring Michael Frolik and Rostislav Olesz's contracts into the discussion. Both players have a combined cap hit of $5.4 million—way more than what they produce on the ice.
It's fair to say that the Blackhawks will be a little tight around the cap in the coming season, which will lead to very little roster changes.
Unless Bowman can work his "magic" and pull off a big trade come free agency, expect to see a lot of familiar faces in the Blackhawks' locker room.
But having the same roster next season might not be a bad thing.
This team is ranked 6th in the league in goals for and are currently in the sixth seed with 93 points and five games left to play—only four points behind last year's eight place finish.
The power play and penalty kill might be struggling right now, but this team is way too talented for that to continue in the years to come.
Nevertheless, it will be good to see familiar faces on the Blackhawks, even if a few of them can do a little more to produce.
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