Good, Bad, I’m just trying to get under the cap.

The Blackhawks continued to get out from the cap crunch they find themselves in.  Late on Wednesday night, the Hawks sent Kris Versteeg and the rights to 2007 2nd Round pick Billy Sweatt to Toronto for Viktor Stalberg, Phillipe Paradis, and Chris DiDomenico.  

Stalberg saw action in 40 games for the Leafs last year scoring 9 goals and 5 assists.  The 23-year old winger from Sweden split time between the big club and their AHL team, the Marlies.  He was a 6th round pick of Toronto’s in 2006.  I’m sure the Hawks will tell the masses they expect him to battle for a roster spot next season; we’ll see about that.

DiDomenico, a center, was a 6th round pick of Toronto’s in 2007.  The 21-year old is a 5-year veteran of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  He battled injuries the past two seasons but returned in time for the playoffs this year where he notched 21 points in 14 games.  With his junior eligibility up, he’ll be expected to center a line in Rockford or Toledo.

This is already the second trade in young Phillipe Paradis’ career.  The former 1st round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2009 was traded last December to Toronto for Jiri Tlusty.  The 19-year old center also played in the QJMHL the last three years for the Shawingan Cataratctes.  He saw limited action with the Marlies at the end of the season appearing in 4 games notching 2 assists.

For Toronto and Brian Burke, they essentially nabbed Kris Versteeg for Jiri Tlusty and two 6th round picks from another regime.  Not bloody bad.  

The asking price of Versteeg clearly came down after Stan Bowman was demanding a first round pick and a prospect at the draft.   With free agency just around the corner and the Hawks’ restricted free agents in need of new paper, something had to be done quickly.  So Bowman took what he could he get.   

Just like the Dustin Byfuglien trade, the Hawks didn’t have much choice in the matter.  They needed to clear out some cap space.  So gone are the guys who are replaceable. 

The uproar to come from this trade will likely be even worse than that of the Byfuglien trade, but anyone who didn’t have their head in the sand, knew this was coming.  Billy Sweatt was told the Hawks would not negotiate with him and Kris Versteeg’s cap hit was simply too high for his role on the team.  

Where does this leave the Hawks now?

Well, they have 8 forwards under contract, 3 defenseman, and 1 goalie with approximately $9 million in cap space.  They can spend up to just over $65 million until the season starts so they essentially have about $14 million in cap room as Huet’s hit will not be on the books one way or another once the season starts.

Free agency opens up tomorrow afternoon and I refuse to say the Hawks will not be involved after last year’s Hossa signing.  All signs pointed to the Hawks being quiet last year and then they brought the thunder.  Though, I think it’s safe to assume there won’t be any big splashes this time around.  Just don’t hold it against me when Ilya Kovalchuk agrees to terms with the Hawks tomorrow.

Assuming the numbers are close between Ladd, Ham Sandwich, and Niemi and the Hawks, it should only be a matter of time before they start agreeing to terms with the three restricted free agents.  The clearing of Byfuglien and Versteeg should be more than enough to open the room to sign all three.

As per usual, we’ll be sure to update any major moves should they happen tomorrow.

And just after I posted this Guillame Latendresse agreed to a 2-year, $5 million deal with the Wild.  That doesn’t bode well for the Hawks re-signing Andrew Ladd.  Time will tell.

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17 Responses to Good, Bad, I’m just trying to get under the cap.

  1. HawkVision says:

    Is Guillame Letsundress really worth $2.5 million per year?

  2. John says:

    Probably not, but he and Ladd are very similar. That was not cool.

  3. Big Tony says:

    Ladd may take the tender in order to stay here. Turning your bavk on money is easier than turning your back on the situation with the Hawks.

  4. Patrick says:

    I’m hoping for a Matt Cooke type deal – 5.4 for 3 years, but my guess is that Ladd will be a bit north of that. Should be an interesting day today…

  5. Otter says:

    For an extra 750k a year it’s easy to turn your back on the Hawks (or anyone).

    The haul the Hawks got here is a lot less than Buff, but Hawks also gave up a lot more when they traded Buff et all.

    But I think the important thing for the Hawks is… they still have Kane, Toews, Keith, Seabrook, Hossa, and Sharp. Those guys are the main reason that the Hawks won and while you can’t fill in the wholes with crap players, if you get some guys with a little talent going up against other teams third lines; well your guys with talent are going to do well. I’ll be interested to see how Versteeg does in Toronto… and if the Hawks are able to replace 90% of Versteeg’s production.

  6. Lou says:

    I love the idiots on other blogs saying the hawks have no Cap room still. The Bug Light for Hockey morons still seems to be working and working well…

    Steeg brought some flash but he was also one of the dumbest players on the ice many a night. He won’t break our top 6 and his stickhandling and his low hockey IQ won’t be missed. Although his secondary scoring has been a bonus.

    I wonder if Burish is really going to take a home town discount and do they really want him…

  7. daveanton says:

    To be fair; up here the Wild (and fans in tow) thought Latendresse was the second coming’s first born.

    And the Wild are bodycuffed with Trade/Free Agent options severely limited (no high picks to trade nor many prospects, nor low price/ high talent trade bait)

  8. John says:

    Well, the Hawks really don’t have a whole lot of room left. I said $14 million in space but that’s still assuming Huet’s hit is off the books. Plus depending on what you read, the Hawks were about $4.1 over in last year’s cap. So that only leaves about $10 million (again, without Huet’s hit. With it, they only have about $5 mill) in space to fill 9 spots. They’re still not out of the woods yet.

  9. Otter says:

    Thank you for pointing out the Huet contract stuff, until he’s not on the Blackhawks, he costs against the cap. He won’t be off the Hawks roster until August or September. That money can’t really be spent if I understand everything correctly.

    So the Hawks re-up with Ham Sandwich, Ladd, and Nemi which will pretty much cost the $5 million they have at the moment.

    I guess come training camp, the Hawks will have two spots on D and two spots on the 4th line to fill… oh and a back up goalie. Huet’s hit will more than pay for that. So if I were to guess, the Hawks probably swing another deal for a blue liner during training camp.

  10. Lou says:

    Don’t spend to much time contemplating the true cap number. You have a better chance of finding, well you know…

  11. CT says:

    The dream is dead. Boogard gets 4 years at $6.6MM from the Rangers.

    Cripes, it’s like Sather is DARING them to fire him at this point.

  12. Lee says:

    As much as i like enforcers, that is nuts!!

  13. John says:

    That is simply amazing.

  14. CT says:

    Manny Maholtra to the Canucks at 3 years, $7.5MM and a no-trade clause (as if the contract itself didn’t serve as one).

    What the hell is going on?

  15. CT says:

    I think all this officially makes Patrick Sharp the best bargain in the NHL.

  16. Lou says:

    “Rangers have no space, yet spend it on Boogaard, a guy who cannot play,” Brooks tweeted. “Counterbalances smart Biron signing.”

    For the record, Sharp isn’t going anywhere period

    Gee Hamhuis played hard to get to go back home all along.

    Pittsburgh did a nice job on their D men

  17. Mark says:

    Now it looks like Ladd is going to Atlanta! Going over with all the bonus money last year is really stripping this team, especially its physical players.

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