If Marian Hossa fails to win the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks this summer, he may be trying to win it with another team next year.
The ‘Hawks have over $57 million committed in salaries to 14 players next season. Thus, they are probably already over the cap and still need six to eight players to fill out their roster.
This means that they must unload some big contracts this summer to free up money needed to sign players at the league minimum salary, never mind any of the team’s free agents.
So, who can the ‘Hawks unload?
If they could pick any players off their roster to dump, it would probably be under-achieving Brian Campbell and (Tallon’s worst signing ever) Cristobal Huet. The problem is that these players are too expensive to buy-out or bury in the minors (at no cap hit), and are impossible to trade without taking big salary in return.
Now, Hossa on the other hand has value and is a tradable commodity.
The ‘Hawks would be best to trade Hossa for only prospects and picks. A second best option would be to accept a player with a shorter-term contract that could be sent to the minors.
For example, the Hawk’s could trade Hossa to the Ottawa Senators for Alexei Kovalev, a 1st round pick in 2010, a 2nd round pick in 2011 and an inexpensive defensive forward prospect Zack Smith (drafted 79th overall in 2008). Kovalev has one year left on his deal paying him $5 million in 2010-11.
This is not a great deal for Chicago, but unfortunately for the team, they are maneuvering from a place of weakness. Other teams know that they need to unload salary and will not do the ‘Hawks any favors.
Hossa has been to the Stanley Cup finals for three consecutive years, with three different teams (Chicago in 2010, Detroit in 2009, and Pittsburgh in 2008). Will he be there a fourth time with a fourth team in 2011?
He’s the kind of player that can elevate a middle of the pack team to contender status. So, yes, he very well could.
My top three picks for teams Hossa could get traded to:
Colorado Avalanche—They have the cap space. Would Chicago trade Hossa to a team in the West?
New York Islanders—They also have the cap space available. But, do they have prospects that interest Chicago?
Toronto Maple Leafs—They don’t have many good prospects or high picks in the next two years, and don’t have much cap space. But they do have a General Manager in Brian Burke who excels at pulling off weird deals like a trade for Hossa would be. Last season he managed to acquire Dion Phaneuf from Calgary and Jean-Sebastien Giguere from Anaheim without having to give up too much in return.