Chicago Blackhawks: 7 Players Who Will Be Moving On After Stanley Cup Triumph
The Chicago Blackhawks will be celebrating their Stanley Cup season well into the summer months and for years to come. Some of the 'Hawks will just be celebrating somewhere else.
A shrinking salary cap along with free agency means that several members of the championship roster will be moving on. In this day and age in the NHL, it's a fact of life.
Departures of some of the members of this year's Blackhawks will come with a twinge of sadness. However, most are necessary adjustments to the roster. This franchise is set up to move forward and that means turnover in regard to personnel.
Here are some names not likely to be with Chicago as we get deeper into the offseason.
All links cited come from the ESPNChicago.com blog of Scott Powers and Jesse Rogers.
1. and 2. Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz
The roster will soon be lighter by two players. The team announced that they will be using their two compliance buyouts on Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz, assuming they both clear waivers.
Believe me, they will.
Montador was signed by GM Stan Bowman in the summer of 2011 to a four-year deal. I'm not sure coach Joel Quenneville really used Montador in a way that was optimal for the organization, but concussion issues last spring kept him out of action for over a year.
The Blackhawks have cheaper depth, and shedding Montador's $2.75 million cap hit is a move that Bowman feels he has to be made.
Olesz was the price Chicago paid to rid themselves of the Brian Campbell contract. Bowman now has his chance to take Olesz and his cap number of $3.125 million next year off the books.
These guys can play in the NHL, just not for the 'Hawks at their current price.
3. Jamal Mayers
Mayers wasn't the player he was for Chicago in the 2011-12 campaign. Unlike that productive season for the 38-year-old veteran, Mayers was basically a passenger on the 2013 Cup-winner.
It was great to see a guy who has logged 15 NHL seasons get his moment with the Stanley Cup. That said, there doesn't seem to be much let in his tank.
Mayers is reportedly contemplating retirement, though he will be an unrestricted free agent in a matter of days. He may get an offer somewhere. It won't be from Chicago.
4. Michal Handzus
Handzus was a rent-a-player who came aboard at the trade deadline. Give the man his due—he battled through a host of injuries to contribute to the playoff run. However, his contract is up and, like Mayers, he is probably at the end of the line.
Sentimentality aside, Handzus simply is not a second-line center in this league. The 'Hawks have better and younger options for the bottom lines.
5. Viktor Stalberg
If the postseason is any indication, Stalberg will be plying his speed trade in another city.
Youngblood is an unrestricted free agent next month. His speed will entice at least one NHL team to take a flier on him, though his asking price probably took a severe hit over the last few weeks.
Stalberg seems resigned to the past season being his last in the Indian-head sweater. Stranger things have happened, but I tend to agree with his assessment.
6. Ray Emery
Emery himself may be open to a return. However, there is a lot to consider when his contract expires next month.
As a goalie on the other side of 30 with prior medical issues, Emery likely wants to maximize his value in what could be his final NHL contract. The big money and a chance to compete for a starting job lies outside of Chicago.
Emery had a terrific season. There is no better chance for him to get a bigger deal and more playing time than this summer.
Toss in the fact that Chicago signed 24-year-old Antti Raanta for next year, and it suggests that the 'Hawks may be ready to go with a younger option than Emery. If Emery is fine with his station in Chicago, including his salary, I'm sure the 'Hawks would love him back. I'm not suggesting Emery is selfish, but he may need to chase bigger dollars.
7. Dave Bolland
Reports indicate that Bolland is being shopped. How does Bowman send off the hero of Game 6?
Simple. Bolland's production can be replaced, for the most part. Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger may have to grow into the defender Bolland is, but combined, they are cheaper that retaining the Rat.
Bolland's cap hit of $3.375 is substantial enough to see the savings to the team. At the same time, it's not so high that Bowman can't find a taker for, say, a couple of picks at Sunday's draft.
Bolland didn't take a stranglehold of the second-line center position for the 'Hawks this past season. He has been vital to the success of the team in his tenure. However, circumstances look to be suggesting that Bolland is on the way out.
Hey, it hurts to say goodbye to these players. They were a big part of the magical 2013 season. However, Bowman and the Blackhawks need to move on. That likely means that happens without more than a few of the current gang.