Chicago Blackhawks 2017-18 Salary Cap Outlook

Disclaimer: NHL rosters have a great deal of turnover. Two seasons ago, the Blackhawks consisted of Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw, Johnny Oduya, Teuvo Teravainen, Brandon Saad, Bryan Bickell, Kris Versteeg, and others. We thought many would be Blackhawks for a while. The point is, rosters change so much that I never go into great detail when looking at the future cap outlook. Things will change. Players will be traded at the deadline. Vegas will take one of the players below as well.

So this is simply a look at a 2017-18 Blackhawks NHL team fielded with players that are currently under contract for next season.

The Blackhawks only have one goalie under contract next season, so I signed goalie prospect Some Guy to be Crawford’s backup.

Below is a full 23-man team with a total cap hit of $72,697,628. Chicago will have a player bonus cap overage penalty that will add probably a couple million onto that cap hit.

Obviously, the Blackhawks can re-sign guys like Ville Pokka, Dennis Rasmussen, and Richard Panik. But they aren’t under contract for next season, so I did not include them. These are only players already under contract for next season.

Here is a look at each player’s cap hit in a pie chart. I used a hypothetical bonus overage penalty of $3 million. With a hypothetical $75M cap ceiling, the Hawks could have around $9.5M for 13 players, which would be around $730,000 per player. That’s not going to happen. If Chicago receives a big cap overage penalty again for player bonuses (they most likely will), then they will have to move a player. Moving a cheaper player like Marcus Kruger should free up enough space for Chicago to field a team.

The cap ceiling changes from year – to – year, but a players cap hit remains the same. Becuase of this, people often look at the percentage of the total cap a player takes up. As the cap increases, Toews and Kane’s huge contract take up less and less of the total cap.

Under a hypothetical $75M cap ceiling next season. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will each take up 14% of the total available cap.

The Blackhawks have five players that combine to take up over half of the Blackhawks total cap hit next season.

  • Toews 14%
  • Kane 14%
  • Seabrook 9%
  • Panarin 8%
  • Crawford 8%
  • 5 player total cap hit used = 53%

This means the Blackhawks have less than half of the salary cap available for the 18 remaining players on the team.

Using percentages can be beneficial when looking at players who sign in different seasons. For example, when Marian Hossa signed with Chicago, the cap ceiling was $56.8 million. He signed for 12-years at $5.275 million per season. (Let’s pretend it was a normal contract with no cap circumvention). At the time of the signing, Chicago valued Hossa enough to use 9.3% of the total available cap on his contract.

Chicago valued Panarin at $6 million per season. That is 8% of the cap (if the cap next season is $75M).

If we look just at the money involved, we would say Panarin is making more the Hossa. Panarin makes $6M while Hossa makes $5.275M.

But if we look at the percentage of the cap hit Chicago used in the first year of each signing, Hossa at 9.3% received a higher cap hit than Panarin at 8%.

Disregard the logistics of the 12-year vs 2-year contract and everything in between. I just wanted to show how a player making less money now signed for a bigger cap hit originally. I simply wanted to illustrate how one could use cap percentages.