Just like in recent years past, the Chicago Blackhawks’ selection at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft did not cause that much of a stir. The last two picks, right winger Kevin Hayes and defenseman Dylan Olsen, have yet to play in the big league since getting drafted by the club. Now that’s not to say that this year’s 18th overall pick, Mark McNeill, will have the same fate, but the talk in Windy City is focused mainly the trades made that will possibly make a huge impact on the 2011-2012 Blackhawks roster.
Defenseman Brian Campbell was asked by GM Stan Bowman to waive his no-trade clause in order to move him to the Florida Panthers in exchange for winger Rotislav Olesz. And Troy Brouwer was sent to the Washington Capitals for their 26th pick in the draft, forward Phillip Danault. The moves have freed up quite a big chunk of the Blackhawks’ cap space (Campbell had 5 years left on his contract, getting $7.14 million per season) which the organization plans to use for both long and short-term situations. Expect Nick Leddy to help fill the void left by Campbell’s depature. The 20-year had a memorable season with the team, and is showing promising signs of taking on a much larger role in the Hawks’ defense.
Two other restricted free agents, Chris Campoli and Michael Frolik, will take up most of the Blackhawks’ spare change if they end up staying.
As I had mentioned before, physicality was one aspect of the Blackhawks’ game that was sorely lacking in the 2010-2011 season. With this new cap flexibility, Bowman can look to add some of that missing force and also focus on retaining star forward Patrick Sharp, whose contract ends in one year.
Defensemen Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, who are taking up a little over $11 million of the salary cap, are not going anywhere, and obviously neither are forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who combined take up nearly $13 million.
With that being said, the roster is looking quite different from the one that won the Stanley Cup in 2010. In addition to Keith, Seabrook, Toews, Kane and Sharp, only Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jordan Hendry remain. And given the struggles the Blackhawks faced in the 2010-2011 season, it is clear that the team needs to start rebuilding themselves into a dominating force on the ice once more.
Corey Crawford’s outstanding performance in the last season guarantees him his spot as starting goaltender, but it is unlikely that UFA Marty Turco will stay with the team as the backup goalie. Bowman has said that 24-year old Czech Alexander Salak is “the best goalie in Europe” and has stated that he would like to see him serve as the backup, almost guaranteeing that Turco is not going to stay in Chicago.
As the NHL free agency free-for-all nears, here is a breakdown of the Blackhawks’ current cap situation:
FORWARDS: $30, 529, 167
Patrick Kane $6, 300, 000 (No move clause)
Jonathan Toews $6, 300,000 (No move clause)
Marian Hossa $5, 275, 000
Patrick Sharp $3, 900, 000
Dave Bolland $3, 375, 000
Rotislav Olesz $3, 125, 000
Marcus Kruger $900, 000 (Entry leve)
Ben Smith $812, 500 (Entry level)
Bryan Bickell $541, 667 (RFA)
Michael Frolik $1, 275, 000 (RFA)
Viktor Stalberg $850, 000 (RFA)
Jake Dowell $525, 000 (RFA)
Fernando Pisani $500, 000 (UFA)
Ryan Johnson $500, 000 (UFA)
DEFENSEMEN: $16, 467, 628
Brent Seabrook $5, 800, 000 (No move clause)
Duncan Keith $5, 538, 462 (No move clause)
Niklas Hjalmarsson $3, 500, 000
Nick Leddy $1, 116, 666 (Entry level)
John Scott $512, 500
Chris Campoli $1, 400, 000 (RFA)
Jordan Hendry $600,000 (UFA)
GOALTENDERS: $3 279, 267
Corey Crawford $2, 666,667
Alexander Salak $612, 500
Marty Turco $1, 300,000 (UFA)
About the Author
Written by Anna Santiago
26-year old sports writer from Calgary, Alberta. A hockey and basketball lover above all.