If, as Rocky Wirtz claims, the Blackhawks are still operating in the red through this past season, the company will have its work cut out for itself this coming year.
As things stand now, the Blackhawks will spend a minimum-projected $77 million on player salaries in 2011-12. This is about an $8.5 million increase on what was spent in 2010-11, $68.5M. The Hawks spent $66.0M in 2009-10, including performances bonuses ($4.1M) that went penalized against the Hawks cap the following season.
While the team at this point sits roughly $3M under the $64.3M salary cap ceiling with the roster one player over the 23-man limit, several factors will have the team spending almost $13 million more than the “upper limit.”