At Sunday's NHL Draft, Stan Bowman made more moves than many GMs make in an entire summer. He traded Stanley Cup hero Dave Bolland to Toronto for a 2nd round pick, a 4th round pick and another 4th in 2014. Then, he traded Michael Frolik to Winnipeg for a 3rd round and 5th round pick. Then came the biggest news of the day. He re-signed Bryan Bickell to a 4 year $16 million deal.
While it certainly stings to lose Bolland and Frolik, they were both the correct hockey moves to make. With the salary cap dropping $6 million this offseason, the Blackhawks needed cap space. By moving Bolland and Frolik, the Hawks knocked $5,708,000 of their cap.
Now, a team with very little cap wiggle room last night has $9,545,705 of cap space, and that includes Bickell's new deal.
It does not include Nick Leddy or Markus Kruger. The Hawks still need to sign both players, who are currently restricted free agents. It also doesn't include a backup goaltender. Antti Raanta, a Finnish prospect whom the Blackhawks signed last month, is the front runner for the backup job for now. If he makes the team, that cap hit is $1.4 million.
The Hawks may also consider re-signing Michal Rozsival. He made $2 million last season. If they can get him for slightly less, it would make a lot of sense. Otherwise, the Hawks would have to rely on Sheldon Brookbank or a Rockford kid like Adam Clendening or Ryan Stanton to fill out the 6th spot.
Bickell's $4 million annual salary was a bit of a shock to me at first, especially considering the fact that he was willing to accept a hometown discount to remain in Chicago. That's top 6 money, and Bickell will have to post solid numbers (40-50 point range) to justify that contract. If he remains on the Hawks' top 6, I think he can, but it's a pretty big leap of faith to pay that kind of coin to a guy who many thought the Hawks would let walk before the playoffs began.
So looking ahead to the rest of the offseason, Bowman will likely prioritize these moves :
1. Re-sign Leddy
2. Re-sign Kruger
3. Re-sign Rozsival /sign 6th D-man
4. Sign a free agent center
Thanks for reading as always.
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