May 102011

Blackhawks 2011 Summer Critical Date Calendar

May 15

Gold & Bronze Medal Games IIHF World Championships in Slovakia.  Marcus Kruger is representing Blackhawks on Team Sweden as is Michael Frolik for the Czech Republic.  Ex-Hawks Andrew Ladd (CAN), Mathis Olimb (Norway), Tuomo Ruutu (Finland), Jack Skille (USA) also involved in playoff elimination round beginning May 11th.  Marian Hossa did play in the tournament but his team, Slovakia, the host country, was eliminated in the qualifying round.

June 15 – 30

League-wide moratorium on new player contracts: Meaning a team cannot re-sign any of their own free agents, restricted or unrestricted, during this period.

Buy-Out Period (June 15-30) *Clubs with salary arbitration cases [July 20 – Aug 4] have a second opportunity to buy-out contracts. Deadline in those cases is 48 hours after the Club’s last salary arbitration award or settlement.

June 24-25

NHL Entry Draft – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center

June 27

Deadline for clubs to make qualifying offers to their restricted free agents.  Qualifying offers must be received by this date.  Players, however, cannot accept those Qualifying Offers officially until July 1.  Players have until July 15th to accept their QO.  Any impending RFA who does not receive a Qualifying Offer can become an unrestricted free agent if their Club also does not opt for Club-Elected arbitration.

June 28

Impending restricted free agents are free to open talks with any NHL team, including the team holding their rights.  However, no official offers can be made, new contracts, offer sheets, etc, until July 1.  (This does not apply to players with fewer than three years experience who have received a qualifying offer.  In that case, the qualifying offer gives the Club exclusive negotiating rights to a player with less than three years pro experience.)

June 30

Upper/Lower Limits on 2011-12 Salary Cap are set

July 1

Noon eastern: Free agency period begins. (Also the first day the Hawks and Patrick Sharp can begin negotiating a contract extension beyond 2011-12)

July 5

Deadline for Player-Elected Salary Arbitration: 5pm eastern

July 6

Deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration: 5pm eastern

First week of July

Dates are not yet announced but the 2011 Blackhawks Prospect Camp will be held during the first week of July at Johnny’s IceHouse West.

July 12

First date the Blackhawks can trade Niklas Hjalmarsson, if they should choose to do so.  This is the one-year mark from when the Hawks exercised their Right of Refusal (“match”) on the San Jose Sharks’ 4-year $14M offer sheet to Hjalmarsson.  In accordance with the current CBA, the Hawks cannot trade the player for one calendar year from the date of said “match.”

July 15-17

4th annual Blackhawks “Convention” at Chicago Hilton

July 20 – August 4

Salary Arbitration Hearings

September 10 – 13

Rookie Showcase Tournament – Oshawa, Ontario: Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, Senators and Penguins prospects compete in a three-game, four-day round robin tournament at General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario.



Early estimates indicate the 2011-12 salary cap will not increase much, if at all, on its own.  Salary Cap upper and lower limits are based off hockey-related revenue from the prior year, in this case the 2010-11 NHL season.  The new NBC/VERSUS broadcast deal will not impact hockey-related revenues or the league’s salary cap directly until the 2012-13 season.  Thus, if early indications hold up, the cap will only increase if the player’s association elects to enact its five percent escalator option, which is expected.  If league revenues stay about the same and the upper limit not change, the five percent escalator would bring the 2011-12 cap up to $62.3M roughly, from $59.4M.

  • The Hawks will see the 2009-10 $4.1M cap penalty restriction come off their Cap next season.  However, raises to Brent Seabrook ($2.3M) and Corey Crawford (increase projected anywhere from 1.5-2.0M; 800k to the 2.5-3.0M range) will kill that particular relief immediately.  Figuring a $62.3M upper limit, and a new Crawford deal with cap hit of $2.5M (could be low), that would leave the Blackhawks with approximately $8.6M to cover eight roster spots.  That’s including Marcus Kruger (735k) and Ben Smith (812,500 cap hit).  Figuring those two and supposing Crawford at $2.5M, that puts the Hawks at 15 players under contract covering $53.6M.

Cristobal Huet is still under contract for another season, ending 2011-12.  Tacked on to the above scenario, Huet’s $5.625M cap hit would bring the Hawks down to roughly $3.0M for seven roster spots (429k per slot, or lower than the league minimum).  So that’s out of the question barring a salary dump.

  • For those wondering about the buy-out option, with one year left on his contract, the Hawks could “buy-out” Huet’s contract at 2/3rds of the remaining value ($5.625M).  So the Hawks would pay Huet $3.75M to get him to walk way.  That money just doesn’t disappear however.  The Hawks would be on the hook for a $1.875M cap hit for the next two seasons.

Chicago Blackhawks Un-restricted free agents as of 05-10-2011 (2010-11 cap #’s)
:  Marty Turco (1.3M), Tomas Kopecky (1.2), Jordan Hendry (.600), Ryan Johnson (.500), Fernando Pisani (.500)…. Jeff Taffe (.550), Hannu Toivonen (.550), Jassen Cullimore (.500), Garnet Exelby (.500)

Johnson, Exelby, Cullimore and Toivonen were on 2-way deals.  Jeff Taffe’s contract (2-year) guaranteed him a 600k salary in 2010-11.

Chicago Blackhawks Restricted free agents as of 05-10-2011  (2010-11 cap #’s)
:  Chris Campoli (1.4M), Michael Frolik (1.275 EL, 850k salary), Troy Brouwer (1.025M), Corey Crawford (.800), Viktor Stalberg (.850 EL, 785k salary), Jake Dowell (.525 / .550 salary)…. For the rest we’ll note NHL rate of pay, not cap numbers…. Evan Brophey (.500), Brian Connelly (.587), Rob Klinkhammer (.500), Mathis Olimb (.600), Alec Richards (.637), Alexander Salak (.875), Ivan Vishnevskiy (.765)

:  Troy Brouwer, Chris Campoli, Corey Crawford, Jake Dowell, Viktor Stalberg

Not eligible for salary arbitration: Michael Frolik (would be if RFA again before age 27 under current terms of CBA.  He turned 23 on February 17th)

  • If a player files for arbitration, the Club has choice to elect for a one or two-year arbitration award.  If the Club files, the player has option to elect for a one or two year term.  Clubs are only entitled to “walk-away” from a player-elected arbitration case and only if the award comes in above the league average player salary.  They must do so within 48 hours of the arbiter’s ruling.

Qualifying offers:  These are based on player’s base salary, minus bonuses.  For players with base salary of less than $660,000 in his recently completed season, a qualifying offer of 110% is necessary.  For players with base salaries between $660,000 and $999,999, a qualifying offer is 105%.  For any player whose base salary was at least $1,000,000 the qualifying offer is 100%, or matches their prior year’s salary.

So, here are the qualifying numbers for the Hawks’ impending RFA’s:  Troy Brouwer (1.025M), Chris Campoli (1.4M), Corey Crawford (892,500), Michael Frolik (803,250), Viktor Stalberg (735,000) and Jake Dowell (605,000).

For the minor leaguers and two-way qualifiers:  Evan Brophey (550,000), Brian Connelly (550,000), Rob Klinkhammer (550,000), Mathis Olimb (605,000), Alec Richards (605,000), Alexander Salak (826,875), Ivan Vishevskiy (803,250)

The minimum NHL player-salary for 2011-12 is $525,000

  • July 1st is also the first day the Hawks and Patrick Sharp can begin negotiating a contract extension.

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  11 Responses to “Critical dates, Info on Hawks RFA’s, Qualifying offers, Arbitration eligibles, Buy-Outs and more”

  1. Chris,

    Just listened to your latest podcast.
    I totally agree with your take on the handling of Leddy. He needs to play a lot wherever he is. I would rather have him in the AHL but that isn’t going to happen is it? He might actually be their best option to run an “up top” spot on any PP configuration. Duncan Keith, to me, is not great on the PP. Use Leddy on the PP in order to get him some more time for sure.

    Can’t agree with you on Brouwer though. He is just not good enough. The “hits” stat that you cite is flimsy in my opinion. Sure, it is a real stat but….not really. Too subjective. Too easy to pile up on the stat sheet if a guy wants to.
    I suppose nobody wants to give up on him but he is just not god enough to make much more than the million he already makes.
    He can’t skate well enough to penalty kill. In fact I don’t really think he skates well enough at all.
    Your right, he has good hands, but his production and chances go through the roof when he plays with Kane and Toews which is a plus but you could find a lot of guys that will score 17 to 22 goals playing with Kane and Toews.
    For me it boils down to his skating and he doesn’t really contribute on either the PK or the PP very effectively.

    Keep up the good work.


    • Thanks very much Ryan.

      Can’t blame you on Brouwer. I go back and forth on him.

      While I agree there are obvious issues with the ‘hit’ stat, its the same in every city, for every team. So after 82 games, its hard for me to discount it. I don’t get too wrapped up in it from game to game. I know who is physical and who isn’t and who isn’t shy in the dirty areas but people love stats (and I do to an extent too) so we’re always going to see those referenced whether here or elsewhere. In larger frames, I do believe they paint an accurate picture.

      News of Brouwer’s shoulder surgery is both good and bad. Great in theory that he’ll be 100 percent and ready to go by September should he stick. But also I’ve been wondering if Brouwer’s streaks and late season droughts may be a conditioning issue. Maybe not. Perhaps its a mental fatigue thing with him. Guys can mature through those too.

      I don’t know. In a way I’ve doubted Brouwer basically since the first time I saw him play; never thought he’d come this far and now he’s a decent NHL regular who contributed to a championship. So he has my respect. Part of me wants to give him the benefit of the doubt and anticipate him having a Ladd-like breakthrough season next year and part of me agrees with you. I like his intangibles and versatility. The Hawks don’t have a guy in-system that’s ready to come up and do what he does. Maybe in another year or two with Philippe Paradis or Jimmy Hayes but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. I’d re-sign Brouwer because the cost of replacing him coupled with adding onto what the team already lacked will be just too high.

  2. Shoulder surgery is a killer inI hockey. Nolan baumgartner was projected to be a number one defenseman in the NHL after a stellar career in the whl. He was a top 15 pick of wash in 1994 but had surgery on both shoulders and never was the same player.

    • Yeah, I always liked Baumgartner. A guy paid close attention to before the draft and through the mid-90’s. He’s still a good AHL defenseman. That could be a nice vet for Rockford. He’s a UFA.

  3. Ps Kevin cheveldayoff says he expects both makarov and visnevskiy at hawks camp in the fall

    • If that happens then Connelly is out. I think Makarov will be back. Vishnevskiy is less likely but it wouldn’t bother me if he were back. Whether Vishnevskiy is or not, the Hogs still need a veteran on the blue line. If not Cullimore, then some one else.

  4. Chris,

    Random thoughts about the Crawford contract and Stan Bowman in General.

    1) Stan is arrogant or at least comes off that way. Scotty is too or at least comes off that way.
    2) I think he might not be well liked or at least that is the impression I get. Most feel Tallon got a little or a lot railroaded and he was well liked.

    I point this out because he should not be commenting on the Crawford contract situation one way or the other. He should just be working like hell to get it done. He shouldn’t be acting like he has all these cards he can play. He doesn’t and everybody knows it. His standoffishness to this contract situation is either misplaced arrogance, a lie, or stupid.

    I hope it’s a lie and that they are working very hard at getting the contract done.

    To my second point about his likeability. To some extent, GM’s and Agents trade in information. Meaning, they count on relationships to help them understand a given “market” or signability or what gets a deal done or if John Scott can play Hockey. I just don’t get the sense that Stan has a lot of friends in the game other than his Dad and maybe Cheveldayoff.

    I bet that Crawford’s Agent has better access to information than Stan. Advantage Crawford. Yet Stan acts as if it is the other way around. Baffling,
    I am not saying he should begin to lament his situation publicly but Jesus buddy, act like you care.

    • Without knowing someone personally, its hard to decipher arrogance from confidence. There can be a difference. Someone in his position should be self-assured, and sometimes that comes across as arrogance. I don’t know. If you get some beer in me I’d probably tell you what I really think. As far as Stan goes, I’m sure he’s a smart guy surrounded by even more intelligent hockey people. But Stan is the front man serving a few different masters. He’s certainly uncomfortable to this point answering hockey questions in front of a large group of reporters. I think its impossible for most anyone to dislike Stan personally though.

      Your best hope now on the Crawford front is that mainstream media picks up on this story and starts asking questions and writing about it; putting pressure on the Hawks to get something done. As we know, if you go by Crawford’s agent (and I don’t know what he’d stand to gain from outright lying?), Stan isn’t planning to present concrete offers to Crawford until the Draft. I have no earthly idea why he’d wait that long as it totally plays to Crawford’s agents advantage. Whether Crawford wants to stay absolutely or explore the market is ultimately besides the point. The two sides want different things. The Hawks want the player at the lowest price they can get him at, Crawford wants the opposite. There are no friends in negotiating, one side’s word means nothing and you never trust the person across the table from you until the signatures are on the document. Marty Havlat would tell you. Stan should know. By what he’s been saying to the media, I think he believes everything that happened last summer (Hjalmarsson, Niemi) can’t happen again because his hands were tied and he was in the vulnerable position. That would be half correct but he was caught with his pants down on the Hjalmarsson offer sheet and that directly and negatively impacted the Niemi negotiation. Those talks concurrently complicated things but any other recollection would be revisionist history. He’s not going to lose Crawford. There’s no danger of that unless he screws up the RFA qualifying paperwork again. But getting pushed into a corner where he’d be committing more money, longer term to a goalie, as good as Crawford was this year, could just as easily turn around and be average and overpaid (and potentially seen as a back up) by next February, would have wide-ranging effects on the Hawks’ cap moving forward. And thats a big reason how this negotiation strikes out should be a concern.

  5. Chris do you get the feeling connelly will have to get his shot at the NHL with a different organization. I mean he has been a tremendous ahl player and from a development standpoint what more could the hawks have expected from a smallish undrafted defenseman ? Seems to me though with Keith Campbell campoli and leddy all in that mode, there is no room now or in the near future

    • Yeah I do. Don’t get me wrong, Connelly’s a nice prospect who moves the puck very well but the size thing works against him here. That and everything he does well, someone in line ahead of him does better or has a rounder nhl pedigree. I think he deserves a chance with another organization. And he may make it. But its about opportunity it doesn’t look like he’ll have one here without 2-3 injuries and even then, once those players get healthy, Connelly would be right back in the AHL. I could see keeping him around another year as insurance (if they think of him that highly, which I’m not sure that they do) in case two or more of Leddy, Campoli, Keith or Campbell get injured next season, telling him that he’d be in line for that fill-in role. The thing is, unless the Hawks move Lalonde in a deal for a NHLer, by the time a full-time role opened up in Chicago, someone would be ahead in line on Connelly again. I wouldn’t be shocked if he were traded for another prospect in a similar situation elsewhere.

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