Hawks Catch a Break How to Make Your Cap Nightmare Worse

I don't even know what to say. It's like an April Fool's joke.

Blackhawks exceed salary cap by millions - The Globe and Mail
What wasn’t clear until today, however, is just how far over they went this season – and how that will hurt them in 2010-11.[...]The only two Blackhawks regulars with bonuses on their contracts this season were Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who had a combined $5-million of them available. We heard yesterday from TSN’s James Duthie that Toews earned a $1.3-million bonus for winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, which puts Chicago over the cap at least $1-million. What wasn’t revealed was the fact that both players hit all of their entry-level bonuses this season, meaning an extra $5-million in addition to their base salaries against the cap. It’s exceptionally complicated to calculate exactly how far over the Blackhawks now are, but in looking at the numbers and talking to a few people today, I believe it to be about $4-million.

The situation in Chicago is now so bad that I feel horrible even going through the numbers. Just check out my previous post, which had the Hawks current roster (assuming new contracts for Niemi, Ladd and the guy whose name I can't spell) about $14.5MM over the cap. Now it appears there's an extra $3.7MM to subtract from their cap ceiling? On top of the $1.3MM I subtracted yesterday??

There are a couple of ways to look at that.

  1. $4,000,000 over the cap with 5-7 players left to sign.
  2. $18,200,000* over the cap, keeping the team together.

I'm speechless.

However, let's take this moment for a stroll down memory lane. This is from a post of mine from last July.

Idiots Chart (#5) 7/10/09 now with exciting new columns! - Jewels From The Crown

Some people are wondering if Tallon is going to dip into his bonus cushion this season in order to keep his team going. After all, what are the odds that KANE AND TOEWS are going to earn their bonuses?

Accordingly, the new column is called MADNESS [follow link for the chart]. The figure in the madness column represents a team's cap space per player remaining to be signed, assuming you raise the cap ceiling by the amount of the team's bonus cushion and assuming you're shooting for a roster of 22. Why did I choose 22? Here's my reasoning: A GM that is willing to fritter away his cushion is not also going to be carrying a roster of maximum size. I am making the assumption (or guess) that he will have already "saved" by going for the 22-man roster. Of course, he could "save" further by cutting the roster down to 21 or even 20, but I don't think there's a GM on the planet who's that crazy. So blowing the bonus cushion on a roster of 22 is the most crazy I was willing to imagine anyone reasonably being with another millionaire's money. [...] Teams who are over the cap have no entry in the columns indicating how much money they have left to spend, since they don't have any. Note that Chicago is over the cap but they still have room to spend if they flirt with MADNESS.


*Many people appear to be having trouble wrapping their minds around the $18MM figure, and so assume I must have lost my mind. The $18MM number arose from my desire to look at the Hawks 2010-2011 by starting with the cup winning team, and working from there. Essentially I assumed re-signing key RFAs (Niemi, Ladd, the defenseman whose name I can't spell) and letting nearly all the UFAs walk. I also assumed Beach is ready to play on the big club in the fall (because, obviously, if he is ready but he can't be promoted because of cap considerations, that is a cap PROBLEM). Follow the link to the previous post for the full rundown. Starting at $13MM+ (it only turned into $18MM because of the bonus cushion folly), I then proceeded to whittle away at it, until the Hawks were under the cap, having had to shed only around nine roster players.