Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman moved some personnel over the weekend. Expect more of the same in the next few weeks.
Bowman gained an additional third-round selection in the 2014 NHL draft Saturday by trading forward Brandon Bollig to the Calgary Flames, according to ESPNChicago.com. With the 83rd pick, the 'Hawks selected Matheson Iacopelli.
Time will tell if the young forward is destined to help the Blackhawks. The part of the transaction we should be focusing on is the departure of Bollig.
Shipping out a rugged fourth-liner like Bollig isn't exactly an eye-opening move. You can marvel at the fact that Bowman took an undrafted free agent and developed him into a player worthy of a third-round pick from the Flames.
Bollig was the subject of a lot of passionate feelings, both positive and negative. No matter what camp you resided in concerning the usefulness of Bollig to Chicago, the bottom line is that the move was more about money than what he brought to the table.
Why the sudden rush to move a player who was just signed to a three-year, $3.75 million contract extension? The release of the NHL salary cap on Friday is a good place to start.
With a cap ceiling of $69 million and the 'Hawks in possible pursuit of help up the middle this summer, Bowman needs to create more room. Bollig's salary isn't going to provide the cap space to pull off a big free-agent signing, but it is likely the first step in the process.
Bollig's role can be filled in cheaper fashion within the organization, most likely by prospect Brandon Mashinter. Bowman is going to have to rely on younger, less expensive players in the system to facilitate the shedding of salary.
Over the next few days, expect another trade or two to free up cap space. Johnny Oduya could be just the player headed out of town next. Or perhaps the next piece to be moved is a different player. Just know that the Bollig trade is not the end of Bowman's dealings this summer.