Chicago Blackhawks: 4 Contracts Stan Bowman Would Love to Move for Cap Space

Jon FromiSenior Analyst IJuly 10, 2012

Chicago Blackhawks: 4 Contracts Stan Bowman Would Love to Move for Cap Space

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    The Chicago Blackhawks remain quiet on the trade front for now. That could change if GM Stan Bowman could interest a colleague or two to take on salary.

    Bowman has several contracts that could free up precious cap space in the pursuit of improving the team. Whether the 'Hawks sign another free agent with the extra cash or flip one of these players for a better fit would remain to be seen.

    Remember that Bowman unloaded Brian Campbell and his $7.1 million cap hit last summer and didn't really do anything with it. Still, if Chicago takes on a higher-salaried player, the 'Hawks may look to create additional cap space.

    Ownership has shown a willingness to bury mistakes in the AHL or loan high-contract players to European clubs. However, after eating nearly $8 million in salary in 2011-12, will Chicago choose to shell out for players to not play for them?

    Here are four players who Bowman could attempt to move over the remainder of the summer.

Rostislav Olesz

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    2012-13 Cap Hit: $3.12 million

    Olesz is the price Bowman paid to unload Brian Campbell to Florida. Campbell had an All-Star season for the Panthers. Olesz wasn't to enjoy similar success in Chicago.

    Olesz was scoreless in seven games he played with the 'Hawks. He was scratched often before being sent down to Rockford of the AHL. There he posted 17 goals and 24 assists with the IceHogs before injuring his knee late in the season.

    Will the Blackhawks assign Olesz to Rockford again and eat another year of salary? He is a productive bottom-six forward when healthy. If a team looking to get off the cap floor can be enticed, Bowman would love to rid himself of Olesz.

Niklas Hjalmarsson

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    2012-13 Cap Hit: $3.5 million

    Hjalmarsson is the name routinely tossed out as trade bait, though Bowman might have pause for making this move. Ironically, it's for the same reason that makes him a good trade candidate.

    Hjalmarsson provides some value to a team. With the big salaries nabbed by some questionable talent this summer, the price a team would sign on for with Hjalmarsson for the next two seasons is rather modest considering the market right now.

    If Bowman thinks that he can upgrade on defense, the big Swede may be the price he pays to do it.

Michael Frolik

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    2012-13 Cap Hit: $2.33 million

    Frolik plays hard and shows good defensive acumen. He also came up big several times in the first round of the playoffs. However, Chicago can come up with Frolik's weak offensive numbers (5 goals, 10 assists) for far less.

    Perhaps Bowman can convince another GM that Frolik would flourish in another system and become the 20-goal scorer his was in Florida. It is more likely that Frolik is the contract someone would have to take if they wanted a player like Viktor Stalberg or one of Bowman's prize prospects.

    Like Hjalmarsson, Frolik can still be a useful player on the 'Hawks. If Bowman wants to take on more salary with a couple of big acquisitions, though, Frolik could be on the move.

Steve Montador

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    2012-13 Cap Hit: $2.75 million

    Montador may prove to be more difficult to unload than Olesz, mostly because of the fact that the defenseman is coming off of a concussion that kept him out of most of the last two months of the season.

    Also making matters more difficult is the three more years that Montador is under contract. If Bowman can't attach Montador to a more desirable prospect, the 'Hawks will have two choices: play him on the third pairing or send him to Rockford for the cap relief.

    The Blackhawks have done the latter before with Olesz. However, at some point these moves have to wear on Rocky Wirtz.