May. 02, 2016
Will The Chicago Blackhawks Make Significant Trades This Offseason?
The Chicago Blackhawks came into the playoffs as a real threat to repeat as Stanley Cup champions and their roster certainly proved that they had the depth to make another strong run at being the first team since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings to repeat as Stanley Cup champs. However, that ultimately ended at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, who ended up defeating them in 7 games in the first round of the postseason.
The end result was a disappointing and surprising to some, end to another strong Blackhawks season.
With the team heading into the offseason with questions to be answered, namely whether the team will be able to re-sign forward Andrew Shaw(who was an important player in helping this team), how will the Hawks proceed?
Shaw is a restricted free agent this offseason and is certainly going to command a raise from the Blackhawks after several strong seasons and playing a very important role in the Blackhawks deep playoff runs and the team without a doubt will want him back.
Problem here is the Blackhawks have so many high priced players on the roster that they've essentially run out of money due to the fact that the team is so close to the salary cap. That means the team may have to move someone if they want to clear salary to re-sign Shaw and anyone else the team feels will play a big role on next year's team and beyond.
Despite willing to take a discount to return to Chicago next season, forward Andrew Ladd may not return due to his potential asking price as one of the top players on the 2016 free agent market. Then there's obviously Shaw, but he is not an unrestricted free agent so the team will be able to take their time in attempting to re-sign the tough and gritty forward.
Other unrestricted free agents, Thomas Fleicshman and Dale Weise, most likely will not return. So how does Chicago clear salary?
The team's top paid players are Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. It's more than obvious they won't be traded. Then there's Duncan Keith. Once again, zero chance he would get traded.
But what about Brent Seabrook?
Seabrook makes just north of $5million per season and would be able to keep the Blackhawks under the salary cap if he were dealt. He also had arguably his best season of his career in 2015-2016. Also, he would certainly bring back a very nice return in any trade.
Of course, there is another option that would sound more realistic, shopping Niklas Hjalmarrson and his $4million cap hit and buying out the remaining years of forward Bryan Bickell and his own $4million cap hit. Remember, Bickell spent most of the season in the AHL after failing to repeat his previous numbers that got him that $4million per year contract.
Whatever route Chicago takes, they will certainly have to have a smart strategy this offseason if they want to re-sign Shaw and anyone else but stay under the Salary cap.