Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hawks sign RW Panarin to extension, will still face cap issues


     Something that really makes the NHL different from most professional sports leagues is its salary cap. It prevents teams that have a lot of money (which they all have) from signing a lot of superstars when free agency time rolls around. The way it works is that a team can not have a combined cap hit of all the signed players on their team over the cap, which is usually around $78 mil. Other sports, say the MLB, don't have a salary cap, leading to overpowering teams consistently. Today, I'll talk about one team in the NHL, and how the cap has affected them.
     In the 2010s decade, the Chicago Blackhawks have won 3 Stanley Cups, (2010, 2013, 2015) a dynasty. But more often than not, the Cup winner will be pushed up against the cap, leading to problems. This applies tremendously for the Hawks, who were forced to trade stars Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp after their cup win in 2015. A younger star in Teuvo Teravainen was also forced to be dealt after the 2016 season. But you do need to keep some stars, right? The Hawks needed to sign last year's calder trophy winner (best rookie) Artemi Panarin at the end of the season with Panarin becoming a RFA at the end of the season. The Hawks wanted to get that done during the regular season, and got Panarin on a 2 year, $12 mil extension. But, it could lead to even more trades. Here's why:
       The 2 highest paid players in the entire NHL are both on the Hawks (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews), with a cap hit of $10.5 mil. Other forwards with a high cap hit would be LW Marian Hossa (owed $5.275 mil), C Artem Anisimov ($4.55) and C Marcus Kruger (3.08 mil). Same goes for defense with Brent Seabrook ($6.87 mil), Duncan Keith ($5.53 mil), Niklas Hjalmarsson ($4.1 mil) and Brian Campbell ($2.25 mil) having big cap hits, plus a little more with Michal Kempny's cap hit of $1.1 mil. Goalie Corey Crawford's cap hit is $6 mil, just to add on some more cap hit. Also, the team has 2 former hawk defenseman in Rob Scuderi and David Rundblad's cap hit of about $1.1 mil apiece. You can see how they have some big cap hits nagging them for now.
          With the new Vegas Golden Knights team to play next season, Vegas needs a roster. So, each team will lose a player in the expansion draft to Vegas. Each team will get to protect 7 forwards, 3 defenseman and 1 goalie (they can also do 4 forwards and 4 defenseman) so they don't fall to Vegas. A couple of players I already mentioned who might be left unprotected would be Kruger, Campbell and/
or Kempny. Campbell's 37 years old, so he's out. For some reason, signs aren't pointing towards Vegas taking the 25 year old Kempny, and they probably don't want to take the a little too expensive Kruger, with a lot of forwards who'd be left available by other teams. So, it looks like Vegas will actually take the 24 year old Trevor van Riemsdyk, who has a cheap cap hit of $825K.
        So, we'll see if the Hawks do elect to move someone, particularly at the trade deadline, and who Vegas actually takes. Then, will the Hawks be able to win another cup?    

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