Blackhawks Confidential

TSN says Blackhawks trying to trade Sopel to open salary cap space for Holy Trinity

sopeltrade.jpgTSN hockey columnist Bob McKenzie has posted Friday afternoon that the Blackhawks are currently trying to trade defenseman Brent Sopel, if they can, to open enough salary cap space to be able to announce the contract extensions of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith.

"If I were a betting man," he wrote, "I would say Sopel's days in Chicago could well be numbered."

The Hawks need "tagging" room. Go to the Fifth Feather for a more elaborate description of "tagging."

But suffice it to say by stealing from other people's explanations (and without getting into some details that also have an impact on shifting the dollars here and there) that this term refers to the total dollar value of the Hawk contracts due to run out at season's end linked with the available space (very little) remaining with this year's salary cap. I think.

Add that number up and that is basically the amount to which clubs can commit more dollars for contract extensions next season. No one seems to be reasonably sure exactly how much we are looking at here, although McKenzie guessed at the Hawks needing at least $18-$19 million to cover all three extensions on an annual basis.

But nobody knows the exact salaries or the cap hits or what's presently available, even if there are pretty trustworthy salary cap sites on the web and Third Man In is a good place to go for salary breakdowns.

McKenzie is speculating that Kane and Toews get a little more than $6 million per year and Keith gets a little less. Supposedly, five year terms go to Kane and Toews and 13 years to Keith to spread out the financial pain. That doesn't fully explain what the cap hit is.

Sopel's cap number is $2,333,333 this season and next. While he has been playing well, the Hawks can't afford him for what he brings to the club. But who's going to take him at that kind of money?

There lies the rub, but McKenzie insists that general manager Stan Bowman is working on moving Sopel out of Chicago and might decide to sway a team willing to take Sopel by adding draft picks. He claimed Bowman is seeking to do a little "financial reorganization" before the contract extensions can be finalized.

McKenzie even throws out the possibility that the Hawks will have to wait until after the season to announce the three extensions. But he adds that the team hierarchy is literally chomping at the bit to make a marketing splash by unleashing the news official.

I'm sure the Hawks would like to have a press conference, as I said before, Nov. 30 or Dec. 1 after returning from their six-game circus trip and prior to resuming at home.

The Blackhawks are making it interesting in many facets of the game. Sopel at least is helping. He looks like a guy who can benefit plenty of teams, if only his money was reasonable.

Over-assessing pro athletes is one of the biggest downfalls in sports today. The NHLPA may not want to hear it. But it's the truth.

And too many teams are falling into the trap.

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7 Comments

Dave Morris said:

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This is the same Bob McKenzie who admits he has trouble doing his grocery list without help.

dum dum alouwishes said:

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None of this makes sense. Even IF the Hawks found a Sopel taker, then announce the signings, WHY would they handcuff themselves Cap Wise (anymore than they already are) then find themselves in the EXACT same dilemma they were before they miraculously found a buyer for Sopel??? all in the name of marketing?? what about giving the team the best possible chance at the Cup? makes no sense

VegasHawksFan said:

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Here comes crazy talk; I like Sopel. Sure, it would be great if his salary was 1.5 or something like that, but if we are talking about overpaid Hawks, I think there are some other guys who comparatively do less for what they make. On the other hand, Sopel is probably the perfect rent-a-player for teams out there needing a role player for a playoff run or until they can get a prospect up. He won't break us leaving, but I think he helps more then he hurts by staying.

Jerry Kayne said:

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I love this blog. And I'm trying to restrain myself. I can't.

As I've said before, McDonough will ruin this team just like he did the Cubs. The game is damaged when "Marketing" runs hockey operation. He's pulling the strings on his puppet Bowman Jr. Dale would have made the deals necessary and gotten the job done. Make the trades you need to and get on with hockey. Not the marketing timetable. Remember Vandermeer & Wisnewski? They were very good defensemen traded to make salary cap room. It was painful but necessary to get on with the game of hockey.

Did anyone see the press lately. It's about McDonough. And he's quoted as saying although the front office and hockey operations are now working in tandem, it's totally hands-off making on ice decisions. SInce when did "Director of Hockey Operations" become part of marketing?

I hope the Hawks win the cup this season for Dale Talon's sake. McDonough has tried real hard to make sure everyone forgets Talon while making Bowman Jr. his whipping boy.

As for Bob McKinzie, he usually is pretty dead on with the grapevine. I expect some trades.

Money rules the NHL now. I bet the NHL takes a new look at how the salary cap affects on-ice decisions and although it helps, it's hurts too. It's already a problem for teams. Where will it go from here? Players want more money and have the skill to back that up. They need to rework the cap formula very soon. I'll study on it and come up with a basic solution and get back to you.

I'll try to do a better job containing myself next posting. Sorry.

Mike Kiley said:

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My God, no restraint required. Otherwise, I refuse to post.

Mike Kiley said:

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It's amazing to me that Foley can get away calling Khabibulin a quitter without having to justify it. Even bloggers can't do that. Maybe McDonough should call Foley into the office. Or Foley should say what he means without hiding behind a joking manner. We don't hide on Blackhawks Confidential. We say what we mean. What a concept.

Mike Kiley said:

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You are so right, Jerry. McDonough is a publicity hound. Does anyone know who the Bulls president is? Who's the Sox president? Who's the Cubs president? Who's the U. S. president? OK, I guess we know that one.

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