Tag Archives: Salary Cap

Rusty Olesz content playing in Rockford, for now

By Chris Block

If Rostislav Olesz is upset over residing in Rockford these days, he’s surely not showing his hand.

When asked last week if he was disappointed when he learned the Blackhawks were reassigning him to their American Hockey League affiliate, Olesz described his feelings a different way.

“I wouldn’t say disappointed,” he replied.

“The disappointment was sitting in the stands and watching the game up [with the Blackhawks].  To play six, seven minutes a game is disappointing for a player.”

Olesz does not seem as phased by the demotion as he probably should be.  The fact his one-way contract pays him the same no matter where he plays probably has that influence.

During his first three weeks with Rockford, Olesz turned down all media and interview requests, even from the IceHogs.  He’s not a very talkative guy.  Instead he says he wants to let his play do the talking.

The 26-year old, Czech-born left winger came over to the Blackhawks in the draft day deal that sent defenseman Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers.  Olesz said he learned of the trade on his first day back at home in the Czech Republic.

It was a man-for-man transaction.  One ‘bad’ contract for another.  In the deal, the Hawks gave themselves cap flexibility but also are now stuck with a player who they don’t have a place for, or know what to do with and they pay roughly half of what Campbell earned.

All along there was one caveat attached to the trade – the Panthers knew they were getting a top-end puck-moving defenseman who could eat a ton of minutes on their inexperienced blue line, while the Blackhawks had no idea what to expect from Olesz. Read more »

Share

Patrick Sharp’s five year extension

Negotiations tend to be easy when each side’s interests are one in the same.

Patrick Sharp has said he didn’t want to leave Chicago.  Now, the Blackhawks stepped up to ensure Sharp wouldn’t have an opportunity to make that choice.

….for the next six years anyhow.

On Wednesday, Stan Bowman locked up Sharp through the 2016-17 season with a five-year $29.5 million contract extension.

This season Sharp will play out the one remaining year on a four-year $15.6 million contract he signed back in January of 2008.  Sharp will make $4.2 million in salary this season and spike up to $6 million in the first year of his new extension for the 2012-13 campaign.

It’s a great day for everyone involved.  Sharp is low maintenance, charismatic, widely popular and too good to quickly replace.  Unlike in the case of Brian Campbell, the organization has no one immediately prepared to step into Sharp’s position either this year or next.  Jeremy Morin could be that player on the wing at some point and Mark McNeil or Brandon Pirri could take the second line center position eventually.  Time will tell.  But losing Sharp was never an option or the right thing to do. Read more »

Share

Blackhawks payroll skyrockets, Rockford signs two to AHL contracts

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.” Read more »

Share

Blackhawks 2011 preseason schedule; Salary Cap up more than expected

Blackhawks announced their upcoming 2011 preseason schedule on Monday.

Chicago will again play seven exhibition games and see home-and-home games with the Penguins and Red Wings, as they did last fall.  The Capitals return to the Hawks’ preseason slate after a one year absence.  The two teams will also play a home-and-home series as they did in 2009.  The Blackhawks other exhibition game will be a neutral site contest against the Oilers in Sasaktoon.

Here goes….

Tues Sept 20 (in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) vs Edmonton Oilers @ Credit Union Centre – 6pm*

Thur Sept 22 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (Consol Energy Center) 6:00pm

Fri Sept 23 vs. Washington Capitals (United Center) 7:00pm

Sun Sept 25 @ Detroit Red Wings (Joe Louis Arena) 3:00pm

Wed Sept 28 vs. Detroit Red Wings (United Center) 7:30pm

Fri Sept 30 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (United Center) 7:30pm

Sun Oct 02 @ Washington Capitals (Verizon Center) 4:00pm

*Not sure about the time on that Saskatoon game, but that’s what is currently listed.  I’d bet that is a mistake (taken from the Hawks’ official press release).  All other times appear to be central.  Saskatoon is on central time (UTC-6) year round.  So that would mean either mean a 6pm start in Saskatoon and 7pm in Chicago, or a 5pm Saskatoon, 6pm Chicago scenario.  I don’t know why it would be anything other than a 7pm or later start in Saskatoon?  I’d go with that (8pm Chicago). The building holds less than 15,000 and is the home of the Saskatoon Blades (WHL).  Pearl Jam plays the Credit Union Centre the night before.

Last year’s preseason began with a trip to Winnipeg for a neutral site game with the Lightning.  Comcast SportsNet-Chicago gave that game a broadcast because it had the added element of being captain Jonathan Toews’ homecoming.

The September 30th game will be a chance to see about as close to the Hawks’ Opening Night roster as you’re going to get prior to the opener.  Fat chance you’ll get a look at Sidney Crosby in person that night however.

NHL SALARY CAP FLYING HIGHER AGAIN

– Positive news for the top revenue franchises looking to keep their star players, bid on free agents and spend to the cap.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting that when the salary cap is officially set and announced next week, the upper max will come in at $64 million.  The “upper limit” was previously rumored to be anywhere from 62 to 63.2 million for the upcoming season.  Each of these figures would figure in the NHLPA’s escalator option to automatically push the upper limit up by five percent.

Of course this news also greatly impacts franchise on the other end of the spectrum as well.  The CBA mandates that the lower end, or “floor” (minimum a team must spend on their NHL roster) will be $16 million less than the upper limit.

This year’s “floor” will thus be $48M, an increase of $4.6M from last year’s $43.4M lower limit.

Florida, Phoenix, Dallas and the Islanders have some work to do.  All teams already bleeding money, by the way.  Funny how the system works.

In Chicago, this development likely means Stan Bowman will be in the game on bidding for anything but the few top-level free agents if he’d so choose to.  The extra two or so million also should eliminate any ideas of moving Niklas Hjalmarsson for the purpose of freeing up cap space and maneuverability – Which is a good thing for his regular defense partner Brian Campbell.  Still, that defense needs some tweaking and with Leddy and Campoli in the mix there isn’t a space to plug in another defenseman.  There will be a need for a seventh defenseman, but that won’t be an expensive slot.  Some have suggested Brent Sopel could be brought back but that should only be if he is willing to accept less than a million on a short term agreement. He’d also need to know that he’d start seventh on the depth chart.  If John Scott’s on the NHL roster he’s an emergency forward or defenseman, or specialty option against select teams.  If his skating can improve and he can provide more, great, but it shouldn’t be counted on.  There’s a need for a blue line penalty killer, preferably with some jam to his game that can take some of that responsibility away from the over-taxed Duncan Keith.

– While a decision is said not to be imminent, the Winnipeg head coaching job is down to Blackhawks’ assistant Mike Haviland (Cheveldayoff) and AHL-Manitoba Moose head coach Claude Noel (True North).  Sitting “Thrashers” head coach Craig Ramsey is no longer sitting.  After interviewing for the job he held during the 2010-11 season in Winnipeg on Saturday, Ramsey was informed he wasn’t getting the job.  As was former Oilers’ bench boss Craig MacTavish.

– Wanted to make mention – Since the last game of the Finals was played on June 15th, the CBA dictates that the league-wide moratorium on new player contracts would not go into effect until 48 hours after the conclusion of that game.  The actual wording is “the later of June 15th or 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals.” Why new contracts continue to come out five days later (Nicklas Lidstrom) is anyone’s guess.  Its not that teams and agents cannot negotiate, its a moratorium on paperwork filings that make those new SPC’s official.  So perhaps its semantics or the league could be making up new rules and overriding the collective bargaining agreement when they deem fit as they go along?

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

Share

Critical dates, Info on Hawks RFA’s, Qualifying offers, Arbitration eligibles, Buy-Outs and more

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. Read more »

Share

Duncan Keith troubles and trends; team shot attempts

Ask Brian Campbell.  Big money typically results in double the scrutiny.

We made the point last season once Duncan Keith signed his 13-year $72 million contract extension, in turn making Keith the highest-paid player in the history of the organization.  Sometimes the scrutiny is unfair or unjust.  But nitpicking the performance of athletes is a scene hardly unique to a specific sport or era.  High ticket prices and the public’s knowledge of player salaries have intensified this though. Read more »

Share

Niemi Number, Amonte 40, Tonight’s TTMI~Radio

First off, a reminder. Tonight on TheThirdManIn~Radio, I’ll be pleased to welcome John and BlackhawksBob, writers over at the outstanding Blackhawks blog, FifthFeather.com.

Tonight’s show airs live at 8pm (central) and you can listen live at BlogTalkRadio.com/TheThirdManIn. And if you can’t join us live, the show will be posted on this site and at BTR shortly after we go off the air.

We encourage your phone calls, emails or Tweets as well. The number to call into the show is listed on the show page during the stream.

I’m sure its rather obvious the main topic of tonight’s discussion, so I don’t feel the need for a teaser here. But we’ll also cover how the many alterations to the Cup Champions roster will impact the Blackhawks chance at a repeat; this weekend’s Blackhawks Convention; how the Blackhawks still managed to lose money in 2010 and the McDonough Monologues.

— Saturday, we learned of the arbitrator’s decision in the contract case between the Chicago Blackhawks and their Stanley Cup champion goaltender, and restricted free agent, Antti Niemi. By lunchtime today, we’ll know what the Hawks think of it.

Niemi was awarded a one-year $2.75 million deal for the upcoming season. Next summer he will be scheduled to become an un-restricted free agent.

Over the weekend rumors surfaced of the Blackhawks allegedly having made an unofficial side-agreement with Dallas Stars UFA goaltender Marty Turco for one-year and anywhere between $1.5 to $2.0M. Turco, a nine-year NHL veteran, turns 35 on August 13th. Read more »

Share

TTMI~Radio “The Waiting”

TheThirdManIn~Radio “The Waiting”
Thursday July 29, 2010 ~ e.46 ~
Right-Click to Download Here

Chris Block and Dieter Kurtenbach of Blackhawks Examiner review all the latest news including the Antti Niemi arbitration hearing, Stan Bowman’s conference call, new contract signings and the Cristobal Huet “era” in this edition of TheThirdManIn~Radio.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

TTMI~Radio returns this Monday, August 2nd @ 8pm (central) to review the fallout in the wake of the Antti Niemi arbitration verdict, as well as all the scoop from the Chicago Blackhawks Convention (which we won’t be attending).

For anyone who is heading out to the Convention, we’d like to hear about your experience or anything of note that wouldn’t be evident on internet videos or reported by mainstream media outlets.  You can send those to us at TheThirdManIn @ sbcglobal.net.

Discussed in today’s show:

– Niemi’s arbitration hearing
– A conference call about nothing
– Niemi’s potential realistic, and non-realistic contract awards
– Blackhawks value 3rd line centers higher than #1 goaltenders
– Block’s Niemi mea culpa
– How Corey Crawford impacts Hawks’ play on Niemi
– Jose Theodore = Huet version 2.0
– Rumor Niemi $4.0M demand: Outrageous or about right?
– Theodore/Turco won’t play for free
– Niemi Numbers & where major publication ranks him vs rest of league
– Hawk fans talking 2010 Cup run for granted?
– Misconception that Huet’s contract hurting Hawks
– The Huet “era”
– Dirk Graham and Ted Lindsay celebrating life
Jack Skille, in fact, takes a paycut
– Stan Bowman OWNS Bryan Bickell’s agent
– The future of Nick Leddy
– AT&T & I-55

…. and much, much more.  And as always, thanks very much to all who take the time to listen. 

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

Share

Hawks shed more salary, Trade Reasoner to Tallon

Today, general manager Stan Bowman afforded himself a little extra breathing room under the salary cap by trading centreman Marty Reasoner to the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor-league forward Jeff Taffe.

The transaction marks the first between Bowman and his prior mentor, Dale Tallon, new GM in Florida.

Our Blackhawks depth chart and salary cap tracker have been updated.

As it turns out, Reasoner, who was acquired in the June 23rd trade with Atlanta which sent Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and 2007-2nd round draft choice Akim Aliu to the Thrashers, will leave the Hawks having never played a game with the organization.

Reasoner is scheduled to earn $1.15M this season and his cap hit of $1.2M is now off Chicago’s books.

The interesting part of the deal comes in the terms of Jeff Taffe’s contract.  Taffe played 61 of his 82 regular season games, while with the Panthers’ organization, with the Rochester Americans in the AHL.  In the first year of his two-season deal with the Panthers, Taffe was paid at a rate of $105,000 in the AHL (figures provided by CapGeek.com), and $500,000 in his 21 games with the NHL club.

For the 2010-11 season, however, Taffe’s contract calls for him to be paid $600,000 whether he plays in the NHL or the minors.

Taffe posted 1 goal and 1 assist in those 21 games with the Panthers as a fourth line forward mostly.

In Reasoner, the Panthers get another dependable, versatile forward.  Tallon has focused on improving his depth up front since the draft and does further with this trade.  Reasoner, 33, is also a veteran with an expiring contract.  Reasoner will cost the Panthers $600,000 more than Taffe, however, Reasoner is a NHL-er, while Taffe isn’t likely to scratch an NHL ice surface aside from possible stints as an injury replacement.

Today’s trade served purposes on both sides.  The Blackhawks cut a few dollars under their salary cap in hopes of fitting new contracts for Antti Niemi, Bryan Bickell and Jordan Hendry under the cap maximum, while the Panthers cut salary expenses aimed for their AHL team.

As noted here before, the Blackhawks right now are concerned with two CBA related salary cap encumbrances – the $59.4M salary cap they have to be under prior to opening night of the 2010-11 season, and the $65.34M summer ceiling (the cap max + 10% summer cushion).

Per our calculations, the Blackhawks now have approximately $60.5M allocated to 17 players for the upcoming season.  This includes Cristobal Huet and Kyle Beach.  Without Huet, the Hawks are at $54.875M and have roughly $4.525M to spend on the last six open roster spots.  Or, $754,000 per available roster spot.

In some shape or form, Huet will come off the cap before opening night.  However, he cannot be assigned to Rockford until October.  Thus, his $5.625M cap hit does figure into the salary cap equation until his situation is resolved.  Hence, the Blackhawks currently have $4.84M of that “summer cushion” to play with and stay within the constraints of the CBA.

For the sake of argument, let’s stick to the non-Huet scenario.  The Hawks have $4.525M available to spend on six roster slots.  One being the second goalie position.  If Niemi signs with a cap hit of, let’s pick a number, $2.25M, this would leave $2.275M with five spots open.  That’s an average of $455,000 per player and since the league minimum is $500,000, the numbers still don’t add up.  Corey Crawford‘s cap hit alone is $800,000, and he will replace Huet’s vacated roster spot.  If it comes down to it, the cap could be Crawford’s nemesis yet again.  Hannu Toivonen is a quarter of a million more affordable at $550,000.

Stay tuned.  Today won’t be Bowman’s last rotation of the cap-shredder.  Whether Niemi stays or not is ultimately irrelevant to the bigger cap solution.  Unless Bowman resolves to defend the Stanley Cup with a Crawford and Toivonen as his goaltending tandem, another significant contract has to depart.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

Share