The Salary cap in 2017-18 was $75 million on the upper limit and $55.4M on the lower.
Comments from the league this week indicated that next year's salary cap will be anywhere between $78M-$82M. The fluctuation is dependent on how the NHLPA exercises their growth factor option, which they can do up to 5%.
Where was this increase when the Hawks really needed it? Geeze!
The Blackhawks are finally in an "ok" cap situation and if it's announced tomorrow that the upper limit is $80M, they would have $11M+ with 17 committed players for their 2018-19 team. Not too bad.
What may even be better news than the upper limit of the cap is when you look at the opposite end of the spectrum. The lower limit should come in around $60M.
Why am I honing in on that number? Well, because after the Marian Hossa news that he will "not play hockey anymore" news broke a couple weeks ago, I have been looking into the most logical trading partners to assume the last 3-years of his deal.
If you can read between the lines of the PR machine that is the Chicago Blackhawks marketing team, this announcement appeared strategically structured.
"They" stated Marian Hossa will not return… BUT… he will assume a role with the team in some capacity at the conclusion of his deal.
To me, that reads, we've made a decision to make a strong push to move a fan favourite of the last decade, but don't worry fans, he'll be back.
I've looked into this and a couple contacts confirmed the same feelings on the situation. With that said, it's very possible that he stays put, due to the fact that no one wants to take him on / ask too much in return.
In reality, the Blackhawks could park his contract comfortably(ish) for the next few years and put his $5,275,000 AAV on the LTIR when the season hits.
However, Stan and Co. have an aggressive summer 2018 off-season plan, moving this contract now could be vital to the quick(er) turnaround of this team.
Below, I am looking at some (but not limited to) the possible teams that I personally feel Marian Hossa could conceivably be traded too.
Important things to note, Hossa's contract has an AAV of $5.25 over the next 3 years, however, the actual cost is only $3 million (quick math tells me that's $1M per year). This is very key to the acquiring team.
First things first, to offer some perspective, let's look at the history of a couple "salary-dump-of-an-inactive-player" type deals.
Chris Pronger and Pavel Datsyuk are the obvious ones we'll highlight for the purpose of this blog. Those deals were as follows:
June 27th, 2015 - Philadelphia trades Chris Pronger and Nicklas Grossman for Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick.
Follow the money: Pronger ($575k in actual salary but had a $4.94M cap hit), Grossman ($3M cap hit minus the retained $500k by PHI) and Sam Gagner ($3.5M in actual salary with a cap hit of $3.3M).
Aftermath: the Flyers were able to unload a heavier cap hit in Pronger, while Grossman and Gagner were financial trade-offs essentially. Ganger was the best active player in this deal (however ARI wanted to move on from him) as well so overall a great move by PHI.
June 24th, 2016 – Detroit trades Pavel Datsyuk and 16th overall pick (Jakob Chychrun) to Arizona for the 20th overall (Dennis Cholowski), 53rd overall (Filip Hronek) and Joe Vitale. All picks were for the 2016 draft.
Follow the money: Datsyuk ($7.5M cap hit and actual salary) and Joe Vitale ($1.11 cap hit but was owed $2.6M over the next 2 years).
Aftermath: the Red Wings were stuck with Datsyuk's $7.5M AAV for the 2016-17 season as he opted to head back to Russia. Arizona's, John Chayka helped out Ken Holland by swinging this deal to free up that space but was the ultimate winner as he was able to draft his guy in Jakob Chychrun, who will be a staple on ARI's blueline for years to come.
I would compare the Hossa situation very similar to Datsyuk's, however, due to the 3-year term Hossa carries vs. Datsyuk's 1-year, the Hawks would have to give up a more to get something done.
What might a trade look like? Well, let's first examine some options, that, on the surface, make sense to this blogger:
Current roster: 12 players
Approx. Cap Space: $32M
Key UFAs/RFAs: Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan, Noah Hanifin, TVR
Carolina currently has new ownership, which includes a new GM/Coach now. This new group might look to take advantage (see: fleece the Hawks (again)) of this Hossa situation by taking on his contract.
JL's fake trade: Blackhawks trade Marian Hossa, 27th overall pick (from Nashville) and Lucas Carlsson to Hurricanes for a 4th round pick and Nicolas Roy.
Current roster: 17 players
Approx. Cap Space: $27M
Key UFAs/RFAs: Domi, Richardson, L. Schenn
Ahhh, yes, the dumping ground for contracts like this; we've already mentioned Datsyuk and Pronger above but left one name off… David Bolland.
I have this CRAZY idea to swap Bolland for Hossa+. Bolland is owed more in actual salary with $5.5M next year, but then his contract is up after that. The Hawks could bite the bullet this year and then be free for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 from Hossa's $5M+ AAV counting against the cap hit.
Maybe it's sooo crazy it could work?
JL's fake trade: Blackhawks trade Marian Hossa and Luc Snuggerud for David Bolland.
Current roster: 19 players
Approx. Cap Space: $19M
Key UFAs/RFAs: Stone, Ceci, Claesson
This one is for nostalgic reasons. How great would it be for Hossa to go "back home" where he was drafted, only to go "back home-home" to the Hawks after 3 years?
Also, the $3M total price tag isn't a crazy number if there is something in it for Ottawa.
JL's fake trade: Blackhawks trade Marian Hossa and Gustav Forsling to Ottawa for Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Marian Hossa stays in the Windy City and I'm reading this all wrong. He'll go on LTIR every year for the next 3 years on day #2 of each season.
Let me know your thoughts and please remember, these are just a few of the teams where I could see Hossa going but there's obviously 20-something other possibilities.
Also, please remember that these "fake trades" are not transactions I necessarily want to happen, rather, trying to be realistic with each individual team(s).
See ya out there!