If the Blackhawks were to go into the 2015 season with the projected roster below, plus another roster player, that would be it for them. The Blackhawks would not be able to carry anyone more and they would be going into the early games on the schedule with the absolute minimum amount of players going forward. By no means will this cost them games early on, but if there are minor injury knocks and some sub-par performances, drastic measures may have to happen to get things to work out.
As we draw closer to training camp, the rumour mill begins to ramp up names start to get tossed around. Now, all projections below are on the assumption that these players will be playing with the Blackhawks in 2015 and there is more than likely going to be adjustments made, if some of these players were to change addresses before the puck drops in October. The Blackhawks are poised to be an offensive powerhouse again this season and most should benefit from these scoring numbers.
Salary cap watching is fun, isn't it?
|Forwards||14/15 Proj||Cap Hit||Defense||14/15 Proj||Cap Hit||Goaltenders||14/15 Proj||Cap Hit|
|Patrick Kane||85||6.300||Duncan Keith||65||5.538||Corey Crawford||75||6.000|
|Jonathan Toews||80||6.300||Brent Seabrook||50||5.800||Antti Raanta||20||0.750|
|Patrick Sharp||75||5.900||Nick Leddy||35||2.700|
|Marian Hossa||70||5.275||Niklas Hjalmarsson||25||4.100|
|Brad Richards||60||2.000||Johnny Oduya||15||3.383|
|Brandon Saad||55||0.764||Michal Rozsival||10||2.200|
|BUYOUTS & OTHER||0.060|
|Teuvo Teravainen||55||0.894||David Rundblad||15||0.785|
First Round Picks
The Chicago Blackhawks are a host of 1st round potential. Enough said. No, but seriously, when you take Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who should be locks for an opening round pick, you take Corey Crawford, who could win just about all of his starts and then sprinkle in some potential from Patrick Sharp or Duncan Keith, this year could be pretty thin on Chicago talent across the board.
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
How does the most dynamic team get more intriguing, you ask? Well, the answer is simple. Add some more natural talent.
The highly-touted rookie Teuvo Teravainen is a definite Calder Trophy possibility and the Blackhawks may have the chance to add him to their roster full-time and he would be that roster player that would pretty well take up the rest of the salary cap space that I had mentioned earlier. Teravainen did get a quick 3-game showcase at the end of the regular season, but failed to register a point. I don't think that puts a damper on anything, as his potential has been well publicized and it could be a good time to get in on the ground floor.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
Well, if you need my help for the pool worthy forwards out of the Blackhawks organization, I would have to assume that the rock you live under is fully furnished and very comfortable. It is a lot of the usual suspects, with the addition of Brad Richards to the mix, who you'll find waiting for you at the draft table in September. Chicago remains a very solid option for both early round and mid-round picks. Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad should be picked at reasonable times and should stay relatively consistent through the year.
Other Pool Worthy Defense
There are a few more tasty options on the blueline from Chicago, as Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy and Niklas Hjalmarsson will all be prized defenders at the draft this year and should all be decent picks, assuming everyone stays healthy. I wouldn't want to go too thin on Blackhawks defenders, as ice-time will be limited to the 5-6 pairing, which doesn't translate into points.
Yes, Crawford is a potential 1st round pick, should he keep the minutes under his side of the ledger, but Antti Raanta should be a more than capable back-up, providing decent minutes and a certain amount of points, equal to the amount of minutes he ends up with. If you wanted to bet on Crawford having a tough time this season, Raanta's stock could increase.
Team To Pick From Late?
You have to know that the Blackhawks top six will be picked apart quite quickly, but I think there will be some admission that their third line is better than some team's top six or at least their second line. Yeah, you may want to consider some fringe Blackhawks players for your team, but only if you're really desperate.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
If the Blackhawks had any more restricted free agents to sign, they would be in even more trouble than they are right now. No, the free agents are all done for this team and with a projected roster of only 19 players, I have this team with only $904,000 left in cap space, just barely enough to slide Teravainen in. If the rookie was to hit all of his bonuses this season, he would also put a serious dent in next year's cap number, something the Blackhawks may be weary about as well.
Even after a long playoff run last season, it doesn't appear that the Blackhawks are in bad shape, health-wise. They should have a full roster going into camp.