Chicago Blackhawks Salary Cap Outlook for 2011-12: Updated

With the news of Corey Crawford signing with the Blackhawks for three more years, it’s time to take an updated look forward at the salary cap situation for the Hawks.

As we’ve done four times before, let’s look at what the Hawks have, and what they’ll need, moving into summer.

As we’ve done in three previous roster evaluations, we need to lay a foundation that includes at least one assumption regarding the NHL’s salary cap.

The current salary cap in the NHL is $59.4M, and will go up. Coming off a great business year, and adding the new television deal money to the mix, some expectations are that the cap could go up by as much as $4M next year. To be safe, we’ll use a cap of $62M for next season, a fairly conservative increase of $2.6M.

Beyond that assumption, we’ll also work within the context of all players under contract returning; we cannot assume trades will take place, no matter how likely (or wanted) they might be.

Here are the core players now under contract:

Jonathan Toews  $    6,300,000
Patrick Kane  $     6,300,000
Marian Hossa  $     5,275,000
Patrick Sharp  $     3,900,000
Dave Bolland  $     3,375,000
Bryan Bickell  $        541,667
Brian Campbell  $     7,142,875
Duncan Keith  $     5,538,462
Brent Seabrook  $     5,800,000
Niklas Hjalmarsson  $     3,500,000
Nick Leddy  $     1,116,666
Corey Crawford  $     2,666,667
TOTAL  $    51,456,337

Using our assumed cap number, the Hawks could be looking at approximately $10.5M to fill out their NHL roster. This list includes 12 players, all of whom would be considered part of the Hawks’ “core.”

This total, however, isn’t including some players that probably will be in Chicago next year. John Scott should ride the bench/be in a suite all season next year, but he’s a body and under contract. Ben Smith performed well enough at the end of the season that he should be in a Hawks sweater on Opening Night, and Marcus Kruger appears to be a favorite of management as well. So let’s add those three to the mix.

Marcus Kruger $      900,000
John Scott  $        512,500
Ben Smith  $        812,500
Sub-Total  $     2,225,000
TOTAL  $    53,681,337

That total is for 15 players (eight forwards, five defenseman, one goalie, and Scott). So realistically, the Hawks need to add four forwards, one defenseman and one goalie.

The Blackhawks can now turn their attention to other restricted free agents that will likely return. Those include:

  • forwards Michael Frolik, Troy Brouwer and maybe Viktor Stalberg and Jake Dowell
  • defenseman Chris Campoli
  • goalie Alexander Salak

There are also some kids in Rockford that may play a role on next year’s roster. The players that might impact the 2011-12 roster in Chicago could include:

  • Jeremy Morin ($887k cap number)
  • Brandon Pirri ($890k cap number)
  • Jimmy Hayes ($654k cap number)
  • Igor Makarov ($552k cap number)
  • Ryan Stanton ($897k cap number)
  • Shawn Lalonde ($773 cap number)
  • Kyle Beach ($1.171M cap number)

There are also internal unrestricted free agents, specifically center Ryan Johnson, that could be invited back.

What’s important about Thursday afternoon’s news is that the Blackhawks now have their #1 goalie locked down for three more years.

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