The Chicago Blackhawks have come to a crossroads—do more to stay under the cap, or settle for what they have now.
As many say, don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. There’s no more big cap trouble now that Jordan Hendry is officially staying with the Blackhawks after signing a one year deal that will send him a yearly paycheck of $600,000.
Hendry was the final piece of the Blackhawks roster puzzle. This is the smallest roster they can have—20 players. 12 forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies. Everything’s set up. Here’s how it’ll be—
Line 1: Kane Toews Brouwer
Line 2: Kopecky Sharp Hossa
Line 3: Beach Bolland Stalberg
Line 4: Skille Dowell Bickell
Pair 1: Keith Seabrook
Pair 2: Campbell Hjalmarsson
Pair 3: Lalonde Hendry
Starting Goalie: Turco
Backup Goalie: Crawford
For salaries, go to hawkscap.com
Note that the goalie position takes up only $2.1 million in cap space. If you calculate the cap with Toews’ bonus, you would get $56.189 million. There’s wiggle room there. Enough, to some Blackhawks fans’ despair, to keep a Dustin Byfuglien, a Kris Versteeg or an Andrew Ladd, which is unfortunate.
However, now that Bowman has all this cap room, he can have an extra man on the roster like John Scott (who can play both forward and defense). Scott is simply a great fit. Also, he can get into scraps, thus replacing Eager and Burish.
So does Bowman want to make another move?
I would say no, unless he could pick up a good free agent that could take up a spot on the last two lines. Richard Park, Kyle Wellwood, Tim Kennedy, and Arron Asham could all be 30 point guys if they were to be picked up by the Blackhawks. They would be a good fit if Bowman thinks the Blackhawks need any more wingers that are more experienced than the players up in Rockford.
At this point, the Blackhawks have a team that will do well next season. The only remaining question is whether to try to make it better, or leave it be.