Chicago Blackhawks Payroll: Considering the Long-Term Implications of Patrick Sharp’s Deal

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):

Toews  $             6,300,000
Kane  $             6,300,000
Hossa  $             5,275,000
Sharp  $             5,900,000
Bolland  $             3,375,000
Frolik  $             2,333,333
Seabrook  $             5,800,000
Keith  $             5,538,462
Hjalmarsson  $             3,500,000
Montador  $             2,750,000
Crawford  $             2,666,667
TOTAL  $                49,738,462

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 yet in Chicago.)

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:

Toews 25
Kane 24
Hossa 34
Sharp 31
Bolland 27
Frolik 25
Seabrook 28
Keith 30
Hjalmarsson 26
Montador 33
Crawford 28

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.

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.


5 thoughts on “Chicago Blackhawks Payroll: Considering the Long-Term Implications of Patrick Sharp’s Deal

  1. At least we’re planning ahead this time, instead of saying OH SH**, when the next season comes up and someone realizes that we’re 10MIL over the cap again. Good Job to the Front Office for planning ahead. (isn’t that part of business 101?)

  2. Looks like the front office is planning for long term success. Unlike under Bowman, he was planning a one cup team. Hope the new team meshes well. Well done over all.

  3. @Melissa: I think you confused Tallon for Bowman, and I submit that anyone drafting Toews over Kessel & Kane over VanRiemsdyk is looking for more than one cup. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they won the Cup faster than anyone could have anticipated and bonuses kicked in that cost the team at least one veteran off the Cup team. If you look at how Dale Tallon built the organization before leaving, it was far from a one-and-done scenario

  4. Was looking forward to reading this when I saw the link on Twitter. Another great article Tab.


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