When the Blackhawks announced a five-year extension for forward Patrick Sharp on Wednesday, the core of the young Hawks team was now completely taken care of financially.
But what are the long-term implications of Sharp’s new deal?
The following players are signed through the 2013-14 season (with their respective cap hits):
That might feel like an astronomical dollar amount for an organization to have committed to 11 players, but when you place the contracts into context the work done by Hawks GM Stan Bowman looks even better. (And no, we're not including Rostislav Olesz in these calculations; he doesn't have a roster spot locked-up in Chicago yet.)
In the wake of Shea Weber receiving $7.5M from an arbitrator on Wednesday afternoon, the five-year deal Brent Seabrook signed at a $5.8M cap hit looks like an overwhelming victory.
Considering Mikko Koivu, Ville Leino and Brooks Laich got more years than Sharp did, and looking at Koivu’s cap number (seven years, $6.75M cap hit) with zero 30-goal seasons on his resume, Sharp’s deal looks like stealing.
In fact, Frolik is five years younger than Koivu and has almost as many 20-goal seasons (two) as Koivu does (three). Yet Frolik’s salary is just over one-third of Koivu’s. Frolik and Koivu are very different players, but the value is undeniable.
We don’t need to continue pointing out how well Bowman did this summer. Clearly the Blackhawks are in great shape moving forward.
But how good is their cap situation?
Using the 2011-12 salary cap as a baseline, the Hawks have approximately $14.6M to spend in 2013-14; if the salary cap goes up $2M per year, the Hawks would have an average of almost $2M per player to fill depth positions on the roster.
The other part of the equation is age. Here’s the same list of core players, and how old they will be on Opening Night in 2013:
As you can see, almost the entire core of the Blackhawks will still be in their prime in October 2013; only four of these 11 players will be over 30 in two years. Additionally, there are a number of young players that will still be under contract in two years. Here’s the list of prospects that will still be Blackhawks’ property in October 2013:
- Jeremy Morin
- Jimmy Hayes
- Philippe Paradis
- Brandon Pirri
- Dylan Olsen
- Byron Froese
- David Gilbert
Not only are all of these prospects under contract for three more years, but not one of them has a NHL cap number over $900k for the 2013-14 season. Furthermore, a number of the organization’s top prospects – Kevin Hayes, Stephen Johns, Mark McNeill, Brandon Saad and Justin Holl – haven’t signed an entry-level deal yet. On Thursday, Andrew Shaw and Rob Flick signed one-year AHL deals with Rockford.
Additionally, younger players like Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy and Marcus Krüger have two more years on their contracts and could (read: likely will) be retained.
The Blackhawks are in fantastic shape financially moving forward.
Click here for Stan Bowman's complete history as GM of the Blackhawks.