In the Kovalchuk lull, now is as good a time as any for a self-serving "you said I was stupid but in fact I was right" post, and what better topic for that the the Chicago Blackhawks. Now that they have all but extricated themselves from Cap Hell, I would like to look back on what I originally said, back all those months ago.
They have a cap hit of $60.613MM, which is $3.8MM over this year's cap ceiling (keeping in mind that next year's ceiling is supposed to go down by a couple million or, at best, stay the same).
Okay, I was wrong about that. They caught a break. Probably that will help them, won't it?
But at least they have a full roster signed. Nine forwards, five defensemen and one goalie. That's a full team, right?
So, they're four million over, and they have at least five players left to sign, to get to the minimum roster of 20.
Let's assume they trade for the five cheapest guys in existence, locking in the lowest cap hits currently available. That's 5x $487K added to the cap hit, which brings the total to $63.048MM, which is $6.25MM over this year's cap.
Assuming a best-case/worst-case range, the Hawks have to find a way to clear between $6.25MM and $8.25MM in salary.
I guess if I were them, I would send Sopel to the AHL. That saves $2.33MM, but you have to fill his roster spot now, so add another $487K. So, $4.405MM to go.
They traded him instead.
Who's next? I guess I would deal Kopecky, that saves another $700K (net), with, $3.7MM to go.
They got rid of Eager instead of Kopecky.
No one is ever going to take on that Campbell contract.
I guess one plan would be to hope you win the cup and then trade Huet at peak value. That could happen, and then you'd be done.
Oh well. That didn't work out so well for them.
Failing that (and I think trading Huet is extremely unlikely), Chicago is going to have to lose two of Bolland, Barker, Versteeg, Byfuglien or Seabrook, or else lose just one of them and then waive Campbell and hope someone picks him up on re-entry at half-price.
I said they would have to lose two. They lost three, Barker, Versteeg and Byfuglien. Wait, and Ladd. That's four. So, their situation was even worse than I said.
So, to sum up, I would probably demote Sopel, trade Kopecky and two of Bolland, Baker, Versteeg, Byfuglien or Seabrook. And replace them with NINE MINIMUM WAGE EMPLOYEES. Yeah, right. Good management, Chicago. You're completely screwed. And after you lose in the Cup finals to Pittsburgh, and HOSSA GOES INTO THE LOONEY BIN, what then? (Wait. Is that the plan? Hossa goes away on "medical leave" and you get his cap hit off the books? That's possibly genius. Okay, I take it all back. I hope that happens.)
I still think it would have been funny if Chicago lost to Pittsburgh in the finals and that's when Hossa finds out he has a 12 year contract and can't just sign with the Penguins next year.
They did take home the hardware. That can't be discounted.
By the way, Capgeek has now posted the Hawks' Bonus Cushion Penalty and has the figure at $4.17MM, which is more than my (supposedly insane) estimate of $4MM, and much more than Dreger's tweet that had the number at $3.7MM. So go figure.