UA-59049186-1 Blackhawks Off-season Update: Hossa, Expansion Draft, Bowman Overrated? - Good if it Goes

Blackhawks Off-season Update: Hossa, Expansion Draft, Bowman Overrated?

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Hossa leaving hockey

Marian Hossa has a “progressive skin condition” caused by the gear he wears and will not play this upcoming season or, likely, ever again. Apparently, this is something Hoss has been dealing with for some time; days off in practice were due to the condition and treatment required regular blood tests to make sure there were no severe side effects. Hossa, he Blackhawks, and the team doctor’s statements can be read here. Tomas Prokop, who covers Hossa in Slovakia, sent this tweet out, saying Hossa was gearing up for the season recently, so my guess is that doctors just recently advised him to hang it up.

Hossa going on long-term injured reserve means the Hawks can exceed the cap by the amount of his cap hit, but can’t bank any cap space for the deadline. It’s relief from their cap situation, but not the ideal kind, particularly as it comes at the cost of a quality player. The league is going to look into the situation and determine what his cap number will be, as this was the first year where his salary dropped to $1M, set up as a means of circumventing the cap when the deal was signed. Thus, if Hossa straight-up retired, the Hawks would be stuck with cap recapture penalties the next four years. If they get stuck with anything, that stinks. Hossa wanted to play; as recently as last year, he was talking about playing out his contract. If this was a series of “nagging upper-body injuries,” there might be some shenanigans going on. This is not shenanigans.

The best option here for everyone seems to be Hossa waiving his no-movement clause so the Hawks can trade him to Arizona. The Hawks get him off their books entirely, the Coyotes get $5.275M closer to the cap floor for only $1M, and Hossa gets $1 million each of the next four years just to say he’s not retired.

TvR to Vegas

The Vegas Golden Knights took Trevor van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft, while Marcus Kruger remains a Blackhawk for the time being. Kruger may still be traded, possibly to Vegas, or the Hawks may decide that they can afford him with Hossa going on LTIR. I would still trade Kruger; he’s a nice piece to have in the bottom six, but his price tag is too high for a team like the Hawks, who have some work to do re-tooling the team.

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Is Bowman Overrated?

Craig Morgan at Fanrag Sports thinks Bowman’s overrated.

Ask your average hockey fan or analyst for their perception of Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and you’ll hear a couple of prevailing sentiments.

First, that he’s done a masterful job of keeping the Blackhawks Stanley Cup contenders despite annual salary cap crunches. Second, that he’s a whiz at the trade deadline, finding pieces to enable deep playoffs run.

Let’s clear up those two misconceptions. The Blackhawks’ annual cap crunch is largely a mess of Bowman’s own making,

This is partially fair. The 2013 off-season was not a good one for Bowman, giving Bryan Bickell a 4-yr/$16M deal and Corey Crawford a 6-yr/$36M one. Both got those deals based off one stellar post-season. Crawford’s was really galling in that regard, as it was pretty high at the time, he still had a year left on his previous deal, and during the regular season, Ray Emery was even better than he was.

The Toews and Kane deals are quite cumbersome now, but at the time, they looked like wins for the Hawks, as numbers as high as $12M each were bandied about. Everyone thought the cap was about to skyrocket with the new Canadian TV deal. Then oil prices fell, and since the Canadian economy is heavily reliant on oil, the Canadian dollar fell with it, and the TV deal did not provide the revenue folks had been expecting. Even after that, Steven Stamkos would probably be making as much as Toews and Kane if Florida had a state income tax. Stamkos was able to take less in a gross sense from Tampa, as he’ll end up netting more money in absence of said tax. Until Bowman has any say over Canadian economics or Florida’s tax policies, you can’t blame him there.

That said, the Seabrook deal was a bad one, Kruger got overpaid, and there’s no reason for Artem Anisimov to have a NMC.

Here are Bowman’s trade deadline acquisitions over the last four seasons.

2014: David Rundblad, Mathieu Brisebois, Brian Connelly
2015: Kimmo Timonen, Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins
2016: Andrew Ladd, Christian Ehrhoff, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann
2017: Johnny Oduya, Tomas Jurco, Kenton Helgesen

Which of those moves had you thinking “whiz kid” after the fact?

Should’ve traded for Crosby, IMO.

Oduya was ineffective on a bad ankle in Nashville’s first-round sweep of the Blackhawks this season. He cost the Hawks forward Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft.

Mark McNeill was going nowhere fast. If that’s the cost of taking a chance on Oduya, you take that chance 100 times out of 100.

In 2014, he traded puck-moving defenseman Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders to help solve Chicago’s cap woes. He signed Bryan Bickell to a four-year, $16 million deal the year before that never bore fruit and ended tragically when Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. That deal also cost the Blackhawks young and talented left wing Brandon Saad, whom Chicago traded to Columbus in the 2015 offseason.

In order to shed Bickell’s contract, Bowman also had to give Carolina talented young forward Teuvo Teravainen in the summer of 2016.

Losing Saad and Teravainen like that sucked and Bowman’s responsible there, no question. However, Nick Leddy was perpetually in Q’s doghouse prior to being traded.

Forward Richard Panik just signed a two-year, $5.6 million deal coming off his first productive NHL season (22 goals, 44 points).

Someone else almost certainly would’ve given Panik more. And while we’re talking about Panik, let’s remember that Bowman got him for a guy everyone knew the Hawks were going to trade anyway. Bowman’s handed out some bad contracts, to be sure, but it’s not time for torches and pitchforks just yet.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

E-mail: schroeder.giig@gmail.com

 

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