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Chicago’s offseason dilemma in a nutshell…

Chicago’s offseason dilemma in a nutshell…

Starting off I just wanted to give my thoughts about Rocky Wirtz and Dale Tallon and what they meant to the Blackhawks bringing the cup home for the first time in nearly 5 decades and how they influenced the team.

I have to think Rocky Wirtz and Dale Tallon were the 2 biggest influences. Rocky showed the willingness to spend money on acquiring solid players and televise all the games for the Hawks which obviously brought the fan base back with numerous sell outs and obscene amounts of merchandise sales not just in Chicago but for NHL fans everywhere. With that said, the team had to have a good product on the ice to coincide what Rocky was doing and that is where Tallon stepped in.Dale had some obvious good draft choices in the likes of Toews in 2006 and Kane in 2007 albeit were not difficult draft selections as anyone in that position would have taken those 2 players in their respective draft years.Therefore, I would not call Tallon a draft genius by any means as his past selections overlooked players like Kopitar, Rask and Oshie and he selected Skille so that has not paid immediate dividends but Skille does have the skills to be a good player. In 2008 he selected Kyle Beach over an available Tyler Myers so time will tell if that was a good selection or not and Kyle definitely is an NHL player and could be as soon as next year. Where Tallon progressed was the acquiring of players in the likes of Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg but where he was not strong on was salaries in the case of Khabibulin, Huet, Campbell etc.Nevertheless, Tallon did bring in important pieces such as Hossa, Sharp and Versteeg which were important pieces of getting the Hawks to their goal of the Stanley Cup. So in my opinion Wirtz and Tallon were the 2 biggest influences on the Hawks success as Tallon’s faults were somewhat hidden by his excellent acquisition of players and in the end the Blackhawks are now champions.

Chicago Blackhawk off-season notes:

After a triumphant season for the Chicago Blackhawks they must now deal with the much talked about salary cap issues that has everyone speculating this championship team will be ripped apart. I beg to differ and In this piece I will break down the cap and possible scenarios for Chicago entering this tough cap situation.

Here is the list for upcoming, expiring and RFA player contracts:

Player contracts and committed too for the 2010/2011 season:
Toews, Jonathan$6,300,000 Kane, Patrick$6,300,000 Hossa, Marian$5,275,000  Sharp, Patrick$3,900,000 Bolland, Dave$3,375,000 Versteeg, Kris$3,083,333 Byfuglien, Dustin$3,000,000 Brouwer, Troy $1,025,000 Campbell, Brian$7,142,875  Keith, Duncan $5,538,462 Seabrook, Brent$3,500,000  Sopel, Brent$2,333,333 Huet,Cristobal$5,625,000 Kopecky, Tomas $1,200,000
Unrestricted Free Agents
Johnsson, Kim  – $4.8m Madden, John – $2.8m Boynton, Nick  – $1.5m Burish, Adam  – $0.7m Greentree, Kyle  – $0.7m Richmond, Danny  – $0.6m Cullimore, Jassen  – $0.5m Petiot, Richard  – $0.5m Cullen, Mark  – $0.5m Bois, Danny – $0.5m
Restricted Free Agents
Ladd, Andrew -$1.6m Skille, Jack  – $1.3m  Eager, Ben – $1.0m Davis, Nathan  – $0.8m Brophey, Evan  – $0.8m Niemi, Antti  – $0.8m Brennan, Mike  – $0.8m Fraser, Colin  – $0.7m Hjalmarsson, Niklas  – $0.6m Hendry, Jordan  – $0.6m Toivonen, Hannu  – $0.6m Sawyer, Jean-Claude  – $0.5m  Hobson, Adam  – $0.5m MacArthur, Peter  – $0.5m Bickell, Bryan $0.5m

Everyone knows the situation Chicago is in cap wise and all seem to be experts with the majority of people thinking that the Hawks are doomed for upcoming seasons because of this. One word. CORE. Chicago has a solid nucleus of players with Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Campbell and Hossa. There is a possibility of the latter 3 being dealt albeit a slim chance but stranger things have happened.

Let’s attack the players committed to next year.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith are going nowhere.

Marian Hossa does not have a no trade clause but the likelihood of Marian getting dealt is far fetched and highly unlikely as he is considered as part of the core for many more years to come.

Patrick Sharp will be the most sought after and for good reason, as we all witnessed in the playoffs he is an extremely clutch player who can play in any situation, great team guy and he can play wing or center effectively. The Hawks will do their best to retain Patrick and unless a deal comes that completely blows Bowman out of the water then Sharp will be a Blackhawk next season.

Dave Bolland has already proven how effective he can be offensively and defensively. Like last year his playoff run gave the Hawks great hopes for a magical regular season the following year but unfortunately had a bad back that required surgery. Expect Bolland to be wearing an indian head jersey next year.

Kris Versteeg is another fan favourite with an explosive offensive arsenal but being young, fast and able to kill penalties additionally he makes for a very marketable trading piece and sorry to all the Versteeg fans but he is likely gone.

Dustin Byfuglien as we have seen in the last post season appearances is a complete beast, he can play defense very well, his physical play when he brings it is next to none, good speed, great hands and a shot as hard as anyone’s. The only downside to Buff is his lackadaisical play and is seemingly unmotivated at times during the regular season. Buff has a 50/50 chance of being a Hawk next season, if I was a betting man his playoff performance increased his value (like it did for every Hawk) and I sadly see Dustin on another team next year.

Troy Brouwer and Tomas Kopecky will be here next year due to their affordable salaries.

Brian Campbell has a big contract with a limited trade clause in which he can select 8 teams to go to, I do not see Soupy leaving here nor the Hawks wanting to dump him as teams can not take that big of a salary on.

Brent Seabrook is also not going anywhere, while many feel he is a great trade piece and the Hawks will not be able to attain him in 2011 they have to remember in 2012 as it stands right now the Hawks have 10 million in free cap space. Now the two most interesting pieces in Christobal Huet and Brent Sopel are first how do we dump their salaries. Well, Huet is an expensive one and many feel burying him in the minors is the only option, sure that can be done but dealing Huet is not out of the question especially if you can throw in a draft pick and a Kris Versteeg. Our good friend Dale Tallon in Florida loves both players and by adding Versteeg who would be a top 6 forward on that team along with a draft pick would he consider dealing his #1 pick away?

Brent Sopel who has proven he can play with the big boys this year is not as tough a trade piece as everyone thinks, sure the Hawks can send him to the minors but there are teams out there who will pay to have a guy like him on the back end especially after being extremely effective all season long and most definitely through the playoffs. Heck they are paying a guy like Steve Staios a bit more then Sopel, who would you rather have?

So assuming Versteeg, Byfuglien, Sopel and Huet are gone that leaves the Hawks with 43.6million in 10 players. Assuming the cap is 58 million next year we then need to fill out the rest of the roster with approx 14.4 million left of cap space. However, the Hawks must now sign Hjalmarsson and Niemi which I assume they will both be in the 3 million range. Hawks are now back up to 50 million and 12 players signed.

All the Unrestricted free agents we need to consider them gone unfortunately except for maybe Adam Burish who I expect the Hawks to tender an offer too and he will be here next season for 700k/yr but he has not earned a raise beyond what he brings right now.

John Madden was a very good player for us and will be missed but there is zero chance he is with the Hawks next year.

Andrew Ladd will not be offered a new contract and teams will be able to offer a contract to him, although he is a very good role player I have my doubts teams will offer him more then what he makes and he will be a Hawk next year playing out his contract. The same goes with Bickell, Fraser, Eager. Hendry and Skille. Now we are sitting at approximately 57.7 million with 19 players signed.

So in the end the Hawks have a lot of work to do, a ton of rumblings about Toronto being interested in some Hawks players and since Burke has admittedly said he wants “bigger” forwards I expect Byfgulien to be packaged in a possible deal.

Maybe Stan Bowman can package Campbell and Byfuglien for a guy like Kaberle?

Versteeg, Huet and a 1st to Florida for their first overall? Unlikely but the hawks could sweeten the deal even more.

Hossa to Florida for a 1st ?

In ending, there are so many things Bowman can do and yes it will change the dynamic of this team but not to the point that the Hawks will be non-competitive. We may see guys like Bickell, Dowell, Lalonde, Beach and Crawford playing next year but all 5 of those guys are pretty solid prospects.

Let me know your thoughts or possible trade scenarios on what the Hawks can do.


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An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for on the Blackhawks and on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at )

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In response to “Chicago’s offseason dilemma in a nutshell…”

  1. MTH Jun 15 20101:06 pm


    Good read.

    1. Trent Kondo Jun 15 20101:10 pm


      Thanks buddy!

      1. MTH Jun 15 20101:14 pm


        I might have to write smaller texts or just copy it immediately hehe

        1. Trent Kondo Jun 15 20101:27 pm


          Ha! I am not sure what the issues are but maybe smaller texts I am not sure.

  2. Eric Cooney Jun 15 20107:32 pm


    Nice piece Tkon. I have no doubt in my mind the Hawks will keep their core together and remain competitive in the league.

    Their biggest problems are obviously Campbell and Huet. Campbell is at least a serviceable player, but like you said, I don’t see him being traded. Huet is the big headache. I just can’t see a scenario where someone takes on a $5.625 million backup. Especially with UFAs like Ellis, Turco, Niittymaki they can get without trading anything in return. Between Campbell and Huet they are taking up close to 22% of the Hawks cap space! And that doesn’t include the bonuses that will be subtracted from Chicago’s cap next year.

    It looks like the best thing to do with Huet is bury him in the minors. It’s an ugly situation and it will be very interesting to see how it pans out on draft day and beyond…

    1. Trent Kondo Jun 15 20107:49 pm


      Thanks very much Eric.

      I agree the core will stay together for many years. Never looked at it that way about the two of them holding 22% lol, the only way Huet goes in a deal is if Bowman throws in some “treats” like Versteeg and a high draft pick or even more.

      Right now I agree it seems like Huet is off to Rockford and who knows from there, perhaps KHL? Not sure if the Hawks obligations to Huet are nullified if Huet signs with another professional league.

      You must be excited for what the Kings are going to do and your Canes as well. I am curious if the Kings will deal Quick.

      1. Eric Cooney Jun 15 20107:58 pm


        I’m not sure what would happen if Huet left for the KHL. It might depend on the terms of his contract, but it would benefit everyone if he did that. He wouldn’t have to play in the AHL and the Hawks don’t have to pay him. We can dream, right?

        I think the Kings will hang on to Quick with the intention of splitting games with Bernier, maybe 50 for Quick/30 for Bernier. That might change over the season depending on how each plays, maybe Quick leaving at the deadline. I think the team is pretty committed to Bernier as it’s future, but still respecting the fact that Quick was very very good for the team last year and giving him his shot at starter.

        I think the ‘Canes are going to have a very boring off-season. The most thing will probably be whoever they draft.

        1. Eric Cooney Jun 15 20107:59 pm


          most exciting* thing

        2. Trent Kondo Jun 15 20108:20 pm


          Yes dream is right however I do not think the Hawks are getting out of this mess that easily.

          Great Post on the Quick issue, I see countless rumors about Quick getting dealt but of course rumors are going nuts right now for almost every player.

          I do not know a ton about the Canes or their cap space right now. The improvement they made in the latter half of the year was incredible, I would assume they may want to concentrate on their D a bit or maybe even another scorer.

          1. Eric Cooney Jun 15 20108:49 pm

            The ‘Canes have a pretty strict self-imposed budget and basically said they will be playing a lot of younger players and not going after any 1st tier UFAs. It’s going to be a sort of “rebuild” without using the word rebuild. They could use a veteran D-man and a solid top 6 winger, but I think they’re hoping a prospect will emerge as one.

  3. Frank Jun 15 20108:04 pm


    Great read Trent. What stinks is that as a Hawk fan I am celebrating the victory, and at the same time feeling uneasy about the offseason. Being here in Florida, I have a feeling that Dale Tallon makes a strong push for a couple players, which I’m ok with. As long as no Panthers go to chitown.

    Huet, Buff, and Sopel are the first three that I see moving. Madden if he comes back, is going to have to take the hometown discount.

    While it will be interesting so see, it also upsets my stomach!

    Anyway, great article

  4. Trent Kondo Jun 15 20108:25 pm


    Welcome Frank and thanks for the comment.

    It is tough worrying about the cap issue but all of us Hawk fans knew this was coming, in my opinion it was all very well worth it winning the cup, if we did not it would be much tougher to handle knowing we will be losing key players and still searching for the cup.

    Agreed with Huet, Buff and Sopel but I would say Versteeg is guaranteed to go as well. I like Madden but the chances of him signing for pennies when he could probably get 2 mill on another team I would think he is gone. Contenders for next year will most definitely be eyeing him, perhaps a San Jose or Washington may want to entertain Mr.Madden.

    Thanks again for praise on the article it is very much appreciated!

    1. MTH Jun 17 20103:26 am


      Agreed, it was worth it. Its going to hurt though. An entire year to have sore arms for pinching oneself to see its real, lol.

  5. Trent Kondo Jun 15 20108:55 pm



    Thanks for the info I never realized they said that. How about Versteeg and Sopel…for a 3rd or 4th pick or heck even free :)

  6. MTH Jun 16 20109:25 pm


    Here are some thoughts:

    Lets say that Vokoun is traded from the panthers for picks etc so Tallon has some of the capspace available then this:
    To Florida: Huet, Versteeg, Lalonde
    To Chicago: Clemensen, 2nd(33)
    This frees roughly (5.6+3.1-1.2=7.5)M for Chi and gives Flo two good players.

    Then Chicago might continue with this trade: (this assumes that Ottawa is one of 8 teams Campbell agrees a trade to)
    To Ott: Campbell, Sharp
    To Chi: Kuba, Cheecho, negotiation rights to Compoli (RFA)

    Further for the future:
    To Montreal: negotiation rights to Eager and Skille ( Both RFAs)
    To Chicago: Andreas Engqvist, 2nd(57)

    Montreal needs bigger forwards and these two will unfortunately be too expensive for Chicago. Engqvist has played on the same line as Kruger In djurgarden in Sweden and could start this season as a 4th line center.

    This is the team then (assuming Cheecho an icehog or replacement for injuries and that Niklas Persson/UFA is a 2nd line center)




    It clears a total cap hit of 55M and look at that 3rd line.

    What do you think?


    1. Dan Rakusan Jun 16 201010:11 pm


      Will Huet be a good fit in Florida? I personally don’t think so. They need Vokoun just to remain competitive as they simply don’t have the team to make an average goalie look good… Other than that, some of what you say makes sense to me!

      1. MTH Jun 16 201010:33 pm


        You might be right about Huet not being a good fit in Florida, but I think that Huet is a goalie that becomes better when facing a lot of shots. I do not know if Florida is such a team but the regular season stats indicate that. I know this bodes well for Florida since I know that Markström thrives when facing a lot of shots (i have seen it first hand when playing for Brynas in Sweden).

        I think a team that blocks a lot of shots actually is not really the best teams for Huet. Huet also seems to be a good lockerroom guy and helping his co-goalie (in this case Niemi) with whatever he can which also will be good for Markström. So to sum up, to me it seems that Florida is a better fit for Huet then chicago.

        ps if not for the contract and capmess I would not mind having Huet in Chicago. I like him.

        Clearly, Vokoun has been standing on his head almost this entire season, I’m not sure he will be this good the following 1-2 years but the maximum value for a trade certainly is there now.

        This was my 1krona (13 cents) about the panthers which I know nothing about. Markström I know quite a bit about though hehe

        1. Dan Rakusan Jun 16 201011:46 pm


          I can appreciate your view on Huet, but I will say that as a Czech, I have followed Vokoun his entire playing career, and he’s going to be as good, if not better, than he is now for more than a couple more seasons. Maximizing trade return at this point is definitely true, but the reality is that there is nobody there to fill the void, and the nucleus of the Panthers is about to get a lot better with Frolik, Booth and others getting into their primes…

          I am just not sold on Florida trading away Vokoun until Markstrom is ready…

          Could just be my opinion, but I think they’d be wise to hang on to their (by far) best player…

          1. MTH Jun 17 20103:14 am

            You are probably right. Tallon being Tallon and a splash trader, i could see him move Vokoun. Not sure he will though. :)

    2. Trent Kondo Jun 17 20101:19 am


      Wow MTH you did a lot of work on all of these and a great job.

      With the first deal I would hate to give up a guy like Lalonde but as you and I and everyone else knows we would need to give up an extra piece to dump Huet’s contract so your first deal is not a bad one at all.

      The second deal gives us about 4 mill of space I believe and the guy I really like there is Campoli. I think you know how I feel about Sharp and I truly don’t think he is going anywhere unless it is a deal Bowman simply can not refuse. I see Byfuglien going before Sharp does.

      Your Montreal deal is perfect, that is exactly what the Habs need and at a cheap price too. Both guys can play and Eager would be a perfect fit for them.

      I see you want to bring in some more Swedes to the Hawks. I wonder why :) lol

      You know a lot more about the two Swedes you have mentioned then I do as I have rarely seen them play at all.

      You also have Beach/Bickell in the lineup and I agree with that, this Beach kid has all the tools and really ripped it up this year. Bickell is pretty much a guarantee to have a spot next year.

      1. MTH Jun 17 20103:33 am


        One more thing for fun. If Persson is brought in wouldn’t it be good to make the simple swap: Sopel for Robert Nilsson. Robert Nilsson is Perssons cousin. How’s that for bringing in more swedes. Maybe this could bring out Nilssons A game and further development LLOL.

        1. Trent Kondo Jun 17 201010:41 am


          Ok now you’re pushing it haha. Robert Nilsson is a tough one to predict and I have seen a lot of him here in Edmonton. Sure he has some skills but what I have seen I am not overly impressed and since they basically make the same amount would we rather not just keep a warhorse like Sopel on our blueline? Our offense is quite deep even after we lose 3 or 4 guys. Bickell, Dowell, Beach and Aliu.

          1. MTH Jun 17 201011:48 am

            LOL I was only joking…:)

  7. Trent Kondo Jun 17 201012:15 pm


    Haha I know buddy!

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