We sit 34 days until the Chicago Blackhawks organization gets changed for the better and the Connor Bedard Era can officially kick off, but despite this amazing news, there really isn’t much news-wise flying around the Hawks worth talking about at the moment. If you are anything like me, I seem to check CapFriendly almost every day as I am just obsessed with the business side of the game, and I like looking at all the teams cap spaces and playing a little armchair GM. Real exciting stuff over here, I know, but today when I checked it out, I noticed that they have officially rolled over the site to the 2023–2024 season, giving us a real first look at where the teams stand in terms of current contracts and cap space. On their end, they have set the salary cap at $83.5 million and the cap floor at $61.7 million. I am not sure if this is the official number, as I haven’t seen anything stating this. With those numbers, the Hawks currently have $41,655,123 in cap space and will need to spend just over $20 million to reach the floor. This also has the NHL roster with 13 players and does not include any of the guys who finished the year with the Ice Hogs.
There have been a lot of discussions on who Davidson is going to bring in, not only to protect Bedard but also to field a team. I want to take this discussion in a completely different direction and have a little bit of fun. We can all agree that things are going to start moving in the right direction for this franchise, as the second Bedards name is called. I think we can all agree that this is going to be a team that struggles next season and is not set up to compete for a playoff spot. It should be better than this last season, but we aren’t going to see 20 more wins next year to fight for a wild card spot; it's just not going to happen. This team needs to spend money, and that is going to set up some interesting names coming to Chicago on 1-year deals. The 2023-2024 team is going to be filled with guys that will end up being a trivia question in a few years and have people go, "Wait, he was a Hawk? I'm talking about guys like Chris Kunitz, Peter Bondra, Bobby Orr, Cam Ward, Marty Turco, and Wendel Clark, to name a few. If there is a player that you would love to see wear the Indian sweater, even if it's just for one season or only a partial season, who would you like to see KD bring in?
Remember, this is just for fun, and it doesn’t have to be a player that fits the Hawks style of play or system, and it sure as hell doesn’t have to make sense. It could be a player you just like or someone you would love to add to your Hawks sweater collection. For me, the first guy that comes to mind is The Phil, The Thrill, and The Holy Mackinaw Phil Kessel. If KD brings him to Chicago on a one-year deal, I would get his jersey before I got Bedards. I absolutely love the living legend that is Kessel, and he might just be one of my favorite non-Blackhawk players. He is living every beer league hockey player's dream; nothing about him makes sense, including that a player his size uses a 60-flex intermediate hockey stick, but he has stayed competitive in this league, and when you look up the Iron Man record, he is the all-time holder who may never be caught. I have his Toronto, Pittsburgh, and Team USA jerseys already and can’t wait to add a Kachina Coyotes jersey as well. To me, if there was ever a season to bring The Phil to Chicago, this is it.
I hope you all have some fun with this, and I can’t wait to see who you guys throw out there. Maybe after a few days I can create an all-fantasy team from everyone's picks, and we can see how that team might do next season. The sky is the limit here, and hopefully this will be the last offseason we play dumb games like this. All for now, go Hawks, and remember, Bedard is coming to Chicago!