If you’re a Chicago Blackhawks fan, by now you must know that the Chicago Blackhawks have had a crazy off-season. After winning the 2015 Stanley Cup, the Chicago Blackhawks have been faced with some major salary-cap issues. With stars like Brandon Saad, Brad Richards, and Antoine Vermette having their contracts come to an end, the Blackhawks were faced with a major issue with the salary cap. They have made several trades by now, some for the better, and some for the worse.
After an outstanding playoff run, Brandon Saad, along with the rest of Blackhawks fans, were expecting general manager Stan Bowman to sign the young star to a contract extension. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. The Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a seven player deal. Almost all Blackhawks fans, including myself, were shocked by the trade. There were so many other options for the Chicago Blackhawks to keep Brandon Saad. One option was to let go of Brian Bickell, who is eating up a lot of the Chicago Blackhawks salary. Brian Bickell signed a long-term contract after the 2013 season. Coming off of an outbreak season, the Chicago Blackhawks management was excited to sign Bickell to a hefty contract. The management of the Chicago Blackhawks is starting to regret this decision. Bickell has been a nonfactor in the organization the past two years. Trading Brian Bickell would have given the Blackhawks enough Space to sign Brandon Saad for at least another 2 to 3 years. My personal opinion on this trade, is that the Blackhawks messed up on this one. At the age of 22, Saad will only continue to get better.
The next person to leave the organization was Antoine Vermette. Vermette was traded to the Blackhawks from the Arizona Coyotes. Vermette was a healthy scratch in the first round of the playoffs, but after the first round, he showed up, scoring some big goals to help the Hawks win the Cup. My opinion on this is that the Blackhawks management team did the right thing by letting him go. Vermette also had an outbreak season this year, so signing him would also be an issue, due to the cap space.
Another person the Blackhawks got rid of was Brad Richards. Richards was among the top in the league for assists. He normally played as the second line center. Richards was signed by the Detroit Red Wings as a UFA. I think Richards would have contributed a lot to the Hawks and definitely could have given the organization a boost offensively. I guess signing him to another contract extension would be too much, but the cap is an evil thing, created by the devil himself…
The most recent trade by the Blackhawks was expected by almost everyone. Recently, F Patrick Sharp was not playing to his full potential. With the salary cap being very tight, the Hawks had no choice but to trade him. Sharp was part of the organization before the Hawks were good (yes, there was a time when the Blackhawks sucked). He played a full 10 years as a Blackhawk and will forever be known as a Blackhawk. After being traded to the Stars, many say his career is close to an end.
Overall, the Blackhawks knew they would have to make some sacrifices this offseason, and I think they did an okay job. Even though the Hawks let go of some stars, they received some good players, too. It’s difficult to predict how the Hawks will do next year, but only time will tell.