Tallon says ‘Cap is Fine, Get off my back people’

As fans, there are some things we’ll never know about the teams we follow.  How the Blackhawks roster currently fits under the salary cap is one of those things.  According to Dale Tallon, everything fits.

Tallon added the signings didn’t put the Blackhawks over the NHL’s salary cap, set at $56.8 million for 2009-10.

“We’re in good shape and we’re legal,” he said “We’re under the cap.”

So as long as he is correct in his statement, then I think the chance is strong to quite strong that this might be the team you see come training camp.  The only move to be made would be trading Byfuglien for a depth defenseman in, basically, a straight up salary dump.  Even then, I’m still not convinced it wouldn’t be better just to play out the year with this group and see what happens. 

I will not be breaking down the Hawks lines because it’s still way too early, but let me say one thing about them: since the Blackhawks signed Marian Hossa, a lot of people have penciled him into Havlat’s spot with Bolland and Ladd. 

It will probably take all of 10 minutes during the team’s first practice before the temptation is far too great for Quenneville and staff to put Hossa and Kane on the same line together.  Kane’s playmaking abilities and Hossa’s sniping make these two a match made in Blackhawk heaven.  Since Hossa’s signing was announced and the thought first popped in my head of those two playing together, let’s just say, it’s been going from 6 to midnight quite often.

For a bit of perspective, if Kane helped Patrick Sharp transform from a fringe NHL player with a ceiling of a 20 goal scorer into a legit 40 goal threat (and he did), just think about what would happen if he was paired with Hossa.  50 goals would be the benchmark for those two.  

Then, think about how much better Dave Bolland will become playing in between two world-class players, instead of just one as he did last year.  The Hawks would essentially have two number one lines.  The days of Q worrying about line matching would be over.  

–In other news, Dale Tallon is trying to put the “Qualifying Offers Fiasco” behind him as quickly as possible.  He made his most public statements today, essentially admitting they made a mistake and going in front of an arbitrator would have been a Doomsday scenario.   

“We were late filing this year.  It’s something we haven’t done in the past but for a couple of reasons we were a little bit later. Our intent the whole time was to sign our eight restricted free agents, and we were able to do that to continue to develop our core together.”

Dale Tallon insists that they paid market value for Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker.  He’s right, they did.  They didn’t overpay like the local media keeps suggesting.

The whole point of the mix-up though, was it left management no choice but to sign them.  By screwing the qualifying offers up, they lost the whole advantage of having restricted free agents in the first place.  Instead of waiting to see if some team wanted to swoop in and give Barker or Versteeg a silly contract, the Hawks had to give them a fair market contract so they wouldn’t lose them for nothing. 

That’s not overpaying; it’s called covering your ass.

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8 Responses to Tallon says ‘Cap is Fine, Get off my back people’

  1. Lee says:

    Looks to me as Dale ,who was my golf pro at Highland Park CC, and I think I know him pretty well, is taking the rap for someone else in the organization and is way to much of a stand up guy to mention the name of that person

  2. Leonidas says:

    The late offers were a benign blunder in my opinion as the changing salary landscape probably would have seen the Hawks matching 3-3.5M offers on Versteeg and Barker. Sure there are teams with room, but I don’t see any of them committing enough money to those guys to give the Hawks prime draft picks. Most likely they would’ve received late round picks of dubious value.

    I think it’s great if the Hawks keep the current team because it allows them to zone in on who to trade next year with a limited risk that Sharp or Buff have a terrible year and drop their trade value. In my early estimation the Hawks will need around 10M to cover the big 3 with Hossa-style 5.2M deals. This is being generous with Kieth, who I think is worth considerably less than Kane and Toews. Keep in mind those two are earning bonuses and if I’m correct their cap hits come in around 6.6M, meaning the Hawks only need to shed between 4-5M to give them the Hossa treatment. Similarly, Kieth will only require 2-3M.

    All this being said I still see some room to shed before they have to cut out juicy contracts like Buff and Sharp. Whats the point of keeping 4 goalies on the books? Or having guys like Hendry and Jake Dowell around? Hopefully with Brouwer, Madden, and Ladd being replaced with cheaper components they’ll only have to jettison one Buff or Sharp.

    Who knows, maybe the Islanders will get stupid and trade Mark Streit and their mail department clerks for Campbell. That would be sweet.

  3. John says:

    From what I’ve heard Corey Crawford is the only goalie with a one-way contract-meaning he gets paid his salary no matter where he plays, Rockford or Chicago. That would make him the favorite to be the back-up.

    The other guys you mentioned aren’t getting paid or hitting the cap unless they’re playing for the Hawks. Guys like Dowell and Hendry are organizational depth guys. Every team has them and the Hawks need them. If you find cheaper replacements for them, you’re saving like 200k at the most.

  4. Lou says:

    I think Buff is the first too. According to a lot of data, Aliu is looking solid at the prospects camp and working out with Nash and O’Sullivan. If this is the case, he can replace Buff and is tougher.

    Other scuttle is we are trying to get Jay McKee.

    Either way, I think a move or two is coming to get a stay at home D man. Maybe we can brig Greg Fox or Dave Feamster out of retirement.

    Thoughts on the D man we might get?

  5. blackhawkbob says:

    That’s a tough one, Lou.

    As for which defenseman the Hawks may acquire, I certainly have no idea.

    As for trading Byfuglien, I respectfully disagree; I think it’ll be Versteeg. Though I don’t disagree with you that Aliu or Beach could fill a similar role as Buff does, playoff performers are tough to come by.

  6. Lou says:

    The question on Buff is how many times does he have to get called into McD’s office or will he remain self motivated. Buff’s size makes him highly desireable.

    However, you may very well be right on Steeg being the first. I think people will be more vocal b/c he is a “pretty boy” type vs Buff as a bruiser. I think they both are on the block and maybe Sharp or Ladd too.

    Either way, I just don’t feel this is the final roster.

  7. Patrick says:

    I think that Buff goes and Versteeg stays – there has been a lot of talk about guys wanting to resign and play for the Hawks and since Versteeg and Barker just resigned (with leverage), they may have picked up defacto no-trade clauses for the summer – the loyalty Tallon is talking about would go both ways, in this case. Since Buff has the same contract value, is marketable, didn’t “just resign”, has upside questions (were the playoffs reality or a mirage?) and is replaceable (like the progress on Aliu and Beach), he goes. Versteeg is young and acts like it sometimes, but he also has speed to burn, plays the PK and PP and can reasonably fit on a second line. Yes, he’s a smurf, but he plays hard.

    Okay, so where does Buff go and what do the Hawks get? I say Toronto is a good guess at a destination (Burke likes these kind of guys), and he goes there for Garnet Exelby and a 2nd rouder. With that, the 2nd rounder goes to SJ along with Huet in exchange for Nabokov (and the Hawks throw in another 2nd or Skille to convince the Sharks to do this). So, why would the Sharks do this? Several early playoff exits are causing them to place blame in places they shouldn’t and Nabokov could be the fall guy (among many). A tough stay-at-home D-man and an upgrade at Goalie are what the Hawks need (along with cap relief – these deals would provide approx $2MM) and this accomplishes everything. I could expand this to include Campbell and a few others, but I don’t think the Hawks get that lucky on the cap-relief front.

    As far as other bloggers saying that the Hawks will have to make a choice between Kane, Toews and Keith – not going to happen, these guys are world class players and the Hawks know that. They’ll get their due, and if they have any “team first” element in them (which I think they do), they all could play for two big paydays rather than just a silly DiPeitro contract (which ain’t going to happen again). Is it a gamble for them, a little, but all three will be very rich men next summer (provided they don’t have career threatening injuries this year) and they’ll be Hawks.

    Dale’s in the drivers seat here, we just need to let him drive.

  8. Patrick says:

    Oops – Dale just got run off the road.

    I still think that several moves can be made to clear up cap space – and they’d be beneficial to the Hawks too…

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