Arbitration May Give Blackhawks More Cap Flexibility

When Chris Campoli and Viktor Stalberg filed for arbitration on Tuesday, most Hawks fans assumed it was a one-way ticket out of Chicago.

It might be the opposite, especially in the case of Stalberg.

Because two players on the Blackhawks filed for arbitration, the team can take advantage of a rarely used part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. There is an August buyout period that is limited to teams that go to arbitration with at least one restricted free agent. This clause allows a team to create additional cap space if an arbiter’s ruling is higher than a team’s expectations.

If the Blackhawks bought out Rostislav Olesz on August 1, they would have almost $10M in cap space to play with. According to, here are the cap hits by year if the Hawks bought out Olesz on Aug. 1:

  • 2011-12: $372,222
  • 2012-13: -$227,778
  • 2013-14: -$477,778
  • 2014-15: $647,222
  • 2015-16: $647,222
  • 2016-17: $647,222

Yes, you see two negative numbers there. The Blackhawks would actually get a salary cap credit in two of the six years Olesz’s buyout would be on the books.

The trick would be proving Olesz is healthy on Aug. 1 to make the buyout possible. He had offseason knee surgery, but is expected to be healthy for the start of the season. If he is healthy on Aug. 1, he might be bought out.

So while Hawks fans are hating on Stalberg’s play, he might serve an function to the organization in the long run.

3 thoughts on “Arbitration May Give Blackhawks More Cap Flexibility

  • July 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Keep Campoli. Stalberg was a dog. He had ample time on the ice and with his supposedly impressive speed and good hands, still only lit the lamp 13 times.

    Campoli hustled every time he was on the ice, though he did make some notable errors. Hopefully that can be corrected. He’s 26–experienced but hardly a seasoned vet. I know we had some blue line acquisitinos, but he’s the keeper.

  • July 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    What I wonder is did SBow make a mistake by NOT getting Campoli signed before trading for/signing Contador ??? Now the market is “set” … and there are others of similar age and/or skills unsigned.

    It reminds me of Hammer last year … allowed Doug Wilson to make an offer when they (the Hawks) knew it was a matter of $$ between Niemi and Hammer.

  • July 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Dump Campoli, his play can be summarized by the microcosm that was his giveaway to Burrows in the overtime period of game seven this year.

    I would buy out Olesz if possible… not sure how the negative buyout works, but whatever.

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