What If This Is Good As It Gets

It's been a bare summer. There's no way around that. We all would have liked fireworks and big names and running out to buy new jerseys and the like, but it hasn't happened yet. And you know, it might not at all. I think we should all prepare for that. And it stems from what we learned Friday about what the owners are asking for.

You know the list of demands/offers by now. But what didn't you see? Salary roll-backs. That's right. The owners want to bring the cap down, but they aren't touching rollbacks because they know Donald Fehr is about as likely to go for them as a badger is going to play the Empirical March on a xylophone. That's great for the players. i mean I wouldn't want my salary rolled back...if I had one.

But it means a true headache for GMs. It's hard to believe that the percentage of revenues going to salaries isn't going to come down at least a little. If the players really hold out for what they have now, which they'd have a right to considering how the game's grown anyway, then we might be hockey-less until McClure's kids are beginning to skate (just so you know, he has no kids). But that's not realistic. I'm thinking 52-53% is what gets settled on, based on the NBA model. I don't know when we get there, but I think that's the destination.

So knowing that, or feeling that, why would you put your team up against a cap that's going to get slashed, maybe as soon as September (unless of course you're Jay Feaster and the sky is green and the streets are paved with flubber and people throw ducks at balloons and nothing is the way it seems in your world). Say the Hawks make a move for Jay Bouwmeester, while losing Niklas Hjalmarsson. That would leave them with about 4 million in space or so. But that could be the exact number the cap comes down, if not more. Suddenly, the acquisition of Bouwmeester means the Hawks would have to punt Dave Bolland or Marian Hossa or some other valuable piece.

i think a lot of GMs, including Stan Bowman, are very cautious about approaching what the cap is now. They're all looking to make moves that leaves them exactly where they are in relation to the cap now if not even farther away, anticipating it coming after them anyway. And that would be the smart way to go about it. Because going for it and capping out your team could cost you something even more than you thought.

So maybe we should just settle for a summer where not much happened, hope that Brandon Saad can be everything he's promised, Jimmy Hayes takes a step forward (and faster than he took that step last year), Nick Leddy finally breaking out, and Corey Crawford bouncing back. Because that might be all the Hawks can get to get them farther.

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