Well now that the Hammer will be staying on Madison, it's time to crunch the numbers and see where the Hawks are and where they can go. As of right now, the Hawks have these spots to fill:
three wing spots, assuming Reasoner is your 4th line center, as well as one to two extra forwards.
A third pairing on the blue line.
A second goalie, either Niemi or someone else starting ahead of Corey Crawford, who clearly is going to be the backup either way.
At the moment, the Hawks will basically have Huet's cap hit to play with, and I'll throw in John Scott's 500k because I really don't think he's going to be more than a #8 d-man on this team, so that's 6.1 million for 7-8 spots. Oh won't this be fun?
Nothing is going to happen until they figure out what Niemi's hearing is, but I just can't imagine that the arbitrator is going to rule a number that's going to be in any way palatable to the Hawks. You might want to start thinking about combining the words "your Niemi jersey" and "ebay" pretty soon. Bickell, Hendry, Skille all are still listed as free agents as far as I can tell, but someone correct me if I'm wrong. Let's say that Stan fills out the 3rd pairing with some combo of Vishnevsky, Hendry, LaLonde, or Connelly, or something to that effect. None of these combos will come in at more than 1.6 together. So let's go with that number and say you know have about 4.4 for forwards.
Bickell and Dowell are going to be manning the 4th line, we know this. They both made the minimum last year, maybe Bicks gets a slight raise, but it won't be any more than 1.2 for both. So now we're down to 3.2. Corey Crawford comes in at 800k, so 2.4 for another goalie and another forward.
Doesn't work, does it? Well, maybe it can before camp. Remember, you can exceed the cap until opening night. But when it comes down to pare this roster down, well, it's icky.