Jack Skille, Come on Down

The Hawks are getting very close to filling out their roster.  This morning, they agreed to a one-year, $600,000 deal with 2004 1st round pick Jack Skille.  Skille took a decent sized paycut from his previous salary of $1.2 million.  With time ticking on his NHL career, this is very likely him taking one step back in hopes of taking three steps forward next summer.

With the signing, the Hawks now have 10 forwards under contract for next year’s roster.  You would have to assume Bryan Bickell and Jake Dowell are also very close to coming to terms.  That would give the Hawks exactly 12 forwards, or four full lines.  You’d have to expect them to carry one more forward or they could be planning on the Rockford dance again this year.

They still have a couple more slots to fill on the defense with 5 guys currently under contract, though John Scott is one of them.  And the goalies, well, that’s where things get a little stickier.

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51 Responses to Jack Skille, Come on Down

  1. Wade says:

    The Igor Makarov signing (2 years, $1.1 million) is also significant. With a cap hit of only $552,000, Makarov now has to be considered an odds-on favorite to make the big club … and this may also mean that Kyle Beach and his $1.2 million cap hit is headed to Rockford for 2010-11.

    The $648,000 saved on the Makarov-for-Beach swap could well mean that the Hawks can still keep Hammer AND Niemi … without losing any other parts of the Core (i.e., Sharp, Campbell).

    We shall see,

  2. dominator says:

    Well $1.2 mil was his salary with boni, though his base was still higher than it is now. Probably worth it for him to take less money and not have to ride the bus in Rockford. Also with Makarov signing yesterday, that could be a pretty damn decent third line.

    In other news I think Amazon is breaking the street date on the championship DVD/BluRays because mine has supposedly shipped and should be here tomorrow 🙂

  3. John says:

    Yeah, I’m going to hold off on the Makarov excitement just yet. Considering he’s regressed significantly in his three years in the K and he still has a European clause in his contract, I wouldn’t pencil him in for anything.

  4. John says:

    Ideally though, he would be a perfect fit if he can play.

  5. dominator says:

    I dunno, its so hard to judge stats in the KHL…he was only getting 10 or so minutes a game and no powerplay time. I have high hopes (that maybe I shouldn’t) based on prospect/training camp a few years ago. Hopefully he works out.

  6. modnar says:

    @John

    you may know the answer to this, but wasn’t skille’s entry level deal a two-way contract? since he played most of his time at rockford he would have been getting payed at lower that the $1.2 million per season.

    is this a one-way deal? if so then the $600,000 might actually wind up being a raise. or i could be totally off base.

  7. John says:

    Ah, you are absolutely correct sir. I was simply looking at his cap hit but you are right, he was probably only banking about 50k the past three years.

    So in terms of what he’s making, he’ll be getting a raise because it’s, more than likely, a one-way deal. But in terms of the salary cap and the Hawks situation, he took a paycut. Works out well for both parties. Unless he blows, then it helps no one.

  8. Lou says:

    From what we heard out of the propects camp, Beach was good at fighting his teammates. We need more out of him and it has to start with maturity. If the guy is an ass, maybe he needs to spend some time in the AHL. Our team has no room for an Alice Burrows type asshat.

    gonna be interesting how the D shakes out. I think Scott is D7 or F13 and will play against teams like STL to offset there f-tards.

  9. Lou says:

    According to ESPN Insider through Strickland – Hawks are in on Modano. Take the sources for what they are worth and have a shot and a beer too. Lee, you can have your shot in your beer. It also adds further speculation to the true cap number…

    If Modano has anything left in the tank and wants to play for cheap, he is an American Hockey Icon and we take him. He was on his way here to sign years ago and Dallas matched it. Why not an Indianhead as a final jersey for an old scorer.

    Big question is does a guy like him or Guerin have a role for us? Any thoughts????

  10. John says:

    Lebrun shot that down pretty quickly. He went right to the source and Modano listed Detroit, Minny, and San Jose as the only teams chasing him. So there goes that.

  11. Lou says:

    It’s ESPN so for all we know Modano could be replacing Colin Campbell too. Who really knows. Ohh well

  12. ozzzie19 says:

    Subtracting Kopecky, Scott, and Huet from the roster and adding Makarov, Skille, Dowell, and Bickell with a 3rd pairing of Vish and someone like McKee (for $1M), gives us room for Crawford and Niemi @ 2.5M (with $51,744 to spare).

    I don’t see a way around dropping either Kopecky or Reasoner (unless Niemi comes well lower than expected). 9 times out of 10, I’ll take the center depth over a non-skilled winger (although some may argue for Kopecky’s size). I’d also rather invest the money in a sure thing 5th defenseman.

    Either way, getting potentially productive wingers like Skille and Marakov under contract for near minimum might well avert capocolypse. Although it all still depends on Niemi.

  13. John says:

    John Scott isn’t getting subtracted from anything. He will be on the Hawks next year.

  14. feyer says:

    Count me among the confused regarding Skille. My understanding is that he received a qualifying offer prior to the deadline. Admittedly, I struggle understanding the CBA as much as anyone else, but I read it to say that in his salary range ($850k not including bonus) the qualifying offer should be 105% of that. At the risk of reminding folks of last year’s RFA snafu, if the qualifying offer is not made in time, he becomes a UFA. So if such offer was made, why didn’t he sign it instead of taking this deal? Or was no such offer tendered, and nobody else stepped forward to sign him? As far as what he actually made last year, it would have been his $50k AHL salary plus the appropriate portion of his $850k NHL salary for games played divided by 82 plus whatever portion of his $450k bonus he was eligible for without actually contributing much. He should actually come out much better this year claiming a higher percentage of his NHL salary, and he can thank his agent for piss-poor earnings the first 3 years of his career by pricing him out of the NHL with a contract having too high a cap hit for his contribution capability.

  15. ozzzie19 says:

    I guess wishful thinking on carrying a lean roster and laying Scott off at Rockford for games where we don’t need his brute. If we do keep him on the roster (and most likely healthy scratch him most of the time), then we either need to go cheap for the 5th D or subtract Reasoner AND Kopecky. I’d prefer the latter…by a lot.

    Of course, we could just get Niemi to come in at an even $2M and then we’d only have to subtract Kopecky.

  16. Patrick says:

    My thinking is that even with the bonus penatly cap situation that we’re working in, we don’t know the true numbers that Stan has to work with. To my knowledge, no official numbers are posted so we’re all speculating. While Stan won’t be able to go overboard, he may still be able to keep everyoneN sign Niemi to a 2MM I year deal and still add Dowell, Bickell and Hendry, as well as Vish-whatever and the Hawks will be fine.

    With that, it’ll be interesting to see what Makarov does in camp.

  17. Fork says:

    Was Skille qualified? He might have been a UFA for all we know – it’s not as if anyone was going to bust down the doors for him (although Toronto DID sign Joey Crabbe, ending a Golden Era in Hawks history – the Hawks were never not champions while Crabbe was part of the organization, but I digress), and if he was qualified, it may have been with an understanding the Hawks would come in at a lower, albeit 2-way deal.

  18. Fork says:

    My bad, I meant one-way.

  19. John says:

    Skille was, indeed, qualified. However, I would have to double-check the CBA about whether the mandatory 10% raise is for all RFA’s or if it only pertains to RFA’s who played a certain amount of NHL games during the course of the rookie contract.

    The true cap numbers might not be public knowledge but it’s in the ballpark and Bowman admitted as such when asked if the Hawks were dealing with a $4.16 million penalty. So if there’s a difference, it’s likely one of a mere few thousand dollars.

  20. BWV513 says:

    Guys, what do you make of this?
    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2010/07/14/the-chicago-blackhawks-are-completely-screwed/

    It’s far more dire-sounding than anything I’ve seen on these boards, and elsewhere.

    — BWV

  21. John says:

    Seems like someone desperate for attention.

  22. dominator says:

    Thats because being dire gets clicks.

  23. Lou says:

    And idiots believe idiots.

    Plus Soup has umm 6 years left. But why would a journalist want to have the facts right????

    Maybe we should just by Soup out and pay him 3.5 for the next 12.

    Sorry, just got caught up in the moment trying to impress Big Tony.

  24. Wade says:

    There’s absolutely no new info in that article. It’s simply one writer’s take on the current situation. Nothing new.

  25. CT says:

    Well, I’m dumber for having read that. This guy’s whole argument appears to be based on Huet (and his cap hit) remaining on the team next season. He talks about Huet is untradable but doesn’t realized that Cristobal is ticketed for Rockford and probably Europe next year.

    What a dope.

  26. Mark says:

    That article is written by a guy that doesn’t have a clue. As mentioned by others he is completely blind to the Huet situation. Also, a lot depends on what happens with Nieme. If he wins arb then we do have some moves to make but if the Hawks win they may be able to pull it off with smaller moves.

    Without question though his article is worthless and you don’t have to worry about losing Nieme, Sharp, and Bolland as he suggests is possible.

  27. Dave Morris says:

    As the token Canadian here, I want to assure all of you gentlemen, that the National Post is a bankrupt newspaper owned by a convicted felon.

    The article is an unmitigated piece of shit.

  28. Dave Morris says:

    Oh yeah, Jack Skille at 600K…not a bad deal.

  29. Lou says:

    Just a wild ass thought here.

    If Philly Moves Gagne and fress up bucks – do they make the play for Niemi????

  30. Patrick says:

    Philly going after Niemi? We should be so lucky, especially if it’s for a 1st and a 3rd.

    They won’t make a move until after the arbitration hearing though. I don’t think anybody does…

  31. CT says:

    Lou, even if Philly moves Gagne, that might not be enough. They’re actually in worse cap shape than the Hawks, as they’re about $2.5 over it now.

    “I want to assure all of you gentlemen, that the National Post is a bankrupt newspaper owned by a convicted felon.”

    It’s nice to know that some things are the same no matter what country you’re in.

  32. Lou says:

    Are you sure CT???? – if your read anything – the Hawks are the only team in trouble and we’ll never win again. Okay, so I like to be humored

    Quietly, we got outstanding value for guys that are replaceable. We stocked a pretty good system with talent at different levels of development

    Just two years ago we were all going Fraser, Brouwer, Hendry, Ham Sandwich, Niemi…

  33. CT says:

    Lou, this is why I never read anything, not even the claptrap that I write.

  34. Andre says:

    Lou,

    “Plus Soup has umm 6 years left. But why would a journalist want to have the facts right????”

    re:

    “Two non-star players, backup goaltender Cristobal Huet and defenceman Brian Campbell, are making a combined $12.7-million for the next two seasons. After that, Huet comes off the books, but Campbell’s $7.1-million annual figure runs for another four years.”

    2+4=6, I think. I’m not a mathist.

    And CT,

    “He talks about Huet is untradable but doesn’t realized that Cristobal is ticketed for Rockford and probably Europe next year.”

    Yeah, because I’m sure there will be no future FA ramifications to sending an NHL caliber player down to the minors purely for salary relief. You don’t think players will look at that and think twice about signing with the Hawks?

  35. modnar says:

    @Andre

    i’m not sure i agree with your sentiment on future fa ramifications. huet is not losing any money. they hawks are still on the hook for his full salary, even if he’s playing in rockford. second, the hawks gave him every opportunity to succeed the last two seasons and it didn’t happen. they would love to trade him to another nhl team, but nobody wants him. i’m not sure how that makes someone say “i don’t want to go there.” why do you see it that way?

  36. dominator says:

    What does sending an NHL caliber player to the minors have to do with Huet?? (somewhat joking, I don’t think he is as bad as he is made out to be but has severely underperformed and any FA ramifications would be minor)

  37. Andre says:

    modnar,

    You’re right, Huet won’t lose any money – even in the event of a buy-out he’ll still get it eventually. However, I don’t think that the Hawks burying a decent NHL goalie in the minors for self-inflicted cap issues does much for the idea that the organization deals with players in good faith.

    I also don’t know how you would go about showing that Huet was given every chance to succeed. Huet may or may not have ever been more than an excellent back-up goalie, but the Hawks brought him in to start, paid him like a starter, and then used him in a platoon when the guy they tried to push out in favor of Huet realized he needed a contract the next season.

    Looking back at the Hawks recent history with goaltenders, it’s hard to say that, even with his ’09 season, Huet has set himself in the lower tier of that group. That’s not high-praise, but it makes for a more difficult argument in terms of justifying sending him down to the minors in favor of Niemi, he of not-yet-a-full-season fame and similar career numbers.

    You are also correct that “nobody wants him”, but I would think that has everything to do with his contract, and not his career numbers. He didn’t play himself out of the NHL, he just played himself out of a starting role. That’s the part where I think FAs will think twice; it’s one thing to have your contract bought out, leaving you free to prove your worth with another team. It’s something else entirely to be banished to the AHL for a season. Who needs that over their heads when they sign with a team?

  38. Lee says:

    Flash: Danny Richmond signs with Toronto. Like who gives a shit!

  39. Lou says:

    His parents from the burbs do.

  40. CT says:

    Also, Barry Rozner.

    Man, Toronto is stocking up on bad d-men from the Chicago suburbs.

  41. Lou says:

    Can we trad Rozner to Toronto????

  42. modnar says:

    @andre

    i definitely see your point. huet is a victim of his contract more than anything. at a reasonable number there’s plenty of teams that would bring him in as a backup, the hawks included. i see both sides of the was he/wasn’t he given a chance to succeed coin. both times it came down to which goalie the coach had confidence in going into the playoffs and neither time was it huet. was the situation or he handled properly? probably not, but he did have his chances. i wasn’t necessarily trying to get into a huet debate, rather was looking to discuss our difference in opinion on how fa’s might see the hawks in the future.

    i guess my point was that the main reason that huet is going to the minors is because they feel that he is not their starter at the money they paid him. if i were a free agent (and i’m placing myself in shoes i have no business being in) i would see that as simply a case of “perform and you stay, don’t perform and you could wind up in the ahl”.

    i have to think that’s a fact of life for everyone in the nhl. look at nick boynton. he is a former first round draft pick (if i remember right) who signed a free agent deal and wound up not being able to stay up and play with anahiem. when he came to the hawks he still spent a few months in the minors and only came up because johnsson was hurt.

  43. Andre says:

    modnar,

    ” “perform and you stay, don’t perform and you could wind up in the ahl”. …
    i have to think that’s a fact of life for everyone in the nhl.”

    I would agree with you that this applies to some players, but like I said, if it weren’t for Chicago being up against the cap, nobody is worried about what league Huet is playing in. I’ll admit that I might be reading too much into how this might affect future FA signings, but I still think it says something about the organization burying an NHL-caliber player in the minors for reasons of their own making.

  44. Mark says:

    Andre,

    I do think you might be reading a bit too much into this scenario. I take your point and it has some merit but I don’t think it is as bad as you think.

    The thing to keep in mind is this doesn’t go through most free agents minds before signing. Most are very confident, even cocky and they would look at it as a bad break for Huet but “that won’t happen to me”.

    Now if we are burying contracts in Rockford all the time it may become an issue but as an isolated incident I don’t think it will be too big of a deal at all.

  45. Andre says:

    “Most are very confident, even cocky and they would look at it as a bad break for Huet but “that won’t happen to me”.”

    Ah yes, but agents might not.

  46. Mark says:

    Again, I don’t see it as a big deal. The agent explains the con’s of Chicago and one of them is that they buried Huet’s contract for two years in the minors. I don’t think the player at the other end is thinking, “oh no what if that happens to me?” Most are going to think it isn’t a big deal “that isn’t going to happen to me”.

    Again, I take your point and it has merit but I think at this point it only has any significant effect on those guys that are on the boarder line. Those type of players are fairly interchangeable. I don’t think this will be a big deal.

  47. Andre says:

    “this point it only has any significant effect on those guys that are on the boarder line. ”

    I read you, but my point is that even with his sub-par season’s with Chicago, Huet’s career numbers don’t point to a border line player.

    This is what intrigues me. I acknowledge that there are probably a number of FAs that will look at the situation and think that won’t happen to them.

    But, if you will, take a look at the Skille signing. The reason that these types of signings look like discounts is because players are willing to take a lower guaranteed salary over a higher potential salary. The Hawks burying a player in the minors means that the only way he gets his guaranteed salary is by wasting his career away in the AHL.

    For a team that will likely be looking at a lot of (so called) fringe players to fill out a relatively high percentage of their roster in the near future, it bears thinking about how they treat these situations.

    I might be making a larger deal about this than I should, but there’s a lot of rose in the tint of your glasses.

  48. Mark says:

    I don’t think there is a lot of rose tint in my glasses. I can see your point and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a problem on a limited basis. I just don’t see a large portion of the league having a problem with it.

    Look at it like this in baseball the Yanks, Red Sox, and others do this all the time. If a player sucks they bench him, send him down, release him. Look what the Angels did with Matthews Jr. This stuff happens, people don’t base their decisioins off of it to any great extent. This winter a lot of free agents will want to be a Yankee even though they know if they suck their will be fan pressure, chance of release, etc.

    At the end of the day if players feel like they have a good chance to win the Cup in Chicago and the money is right this isn’t going to get in their way. Could there be a few players that will stay away because of it? Sure, but my guess is that the % of those players is very small.

    If players feel like they can win with the Hawks that will be much higher on most lists than the chance of going down to the minors if they don’t perform.

  49. Otter says:

    WTF? Matt Walker was just traded for Simon Gagne?

  50. Lou says:

    yep – i guess our deals look pretty damn good right now

  51. Lou says:

    17 year contract for Kovy. This one ough to get interesting at the league office….

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