Will the Chicago Blackhawks make more moves to free up salary-cap space? Could they trade Patrick Kane? Read on for the latest.
NHL.COM: Brian Hedger observes the Chicago Blackhawks stand over $393K above the $71.4 million salary cap for 2015-16, meaning they’ll have to make more cost-cutting moves to become cap compliant. They must also re-sign RFAs Marcus Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom. Hedger speculates a veteran forward like Bryan Bickell or Kris Versteeg could become a salary-cap casualty.
CHICAGO DAILY HERALD: Barry Rozner reports the Patrick Kane rape investigation puts the Blackhawks into a difficult situation. They don’t know if Kane will be available when the season opens in October, while Kane doesn’t know if the front office even wants him back. If Kane is charged with a crime, the league could suspend him indefinitely pending the legal outcome. Rozner suggests trading Kane is among the options the Blackhawks could face. He speculates the club knows more about this situation than the rest of us and is preparing accordingly. He also speculates the ‘Hawks may have received calls from interested clubs wondering if they’re willing to move the winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Blackhawks and the league are waiting to see how the investigation plays out. Given the nature of the alleged crime, if Kane is charged I expect the league will suspend him indefinitely pending the outcome of a trial. From a salary-cap standpoint, that will more than address the Blackhawks’ need for cap compliance. If no charges are filed ‘Hawks management could consider trading Kane, but I suspect they’ll look instead at moving Bickell ($4 million annual average salary) or Versteeg ($2.2 million cap hit). For now, however, all the Blackhawks and the league can do is await the outcome of the investigation.