The only storyline for the Chicago Blackhawks over the past month or so, the dead zone of the hockey calendar, has really been the fact that they need to shed some salary in order to get back under the salary cap. Their signing of Brad RIchards, as well as the fact that Teuvo Teravainen is currently on the roster, have them $2,216,795 over the cap.
That's not a terrible figure to try and overcome. For one, Teuvo starting the season in Rockford will help to mitigate that number. And more importantly, there are enough names around that the Hawks can afford a move that will allow them to get under the cap threshold. According to GM Stan Bowman, there isn't necessarily much concern over the situation.
Bowman told the media:
"A lot of teams have some high hopes for some of the young players and then you get them in games and you realize, well, they're a young player, they're not going to be able to do what I thought they might. It's a bit of a waiting game at this point. We've had a lot of discussions over the last weeks or months, but until guys get on the ice not a lot changes from July until now. I think we'll see that play itself out over the next couple weeks here."
Sounds like, according to Bowman, it's only a matter of time before the teams come calling. The Hawks have a few players that would intrigue other teams, including names like Johnny Oduya, Nick Leddy, and Kris Versteeg that have been mentioned all summer. Additional, and much less likely, options include Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell.
An interesting little tidbit to add to this comes from Bob McKenzie (via @Hope_Smoke on Twitter):
McKenzie "I know [Stan] Bowman was trying all summer to trade Leddy."— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) September 19, 2014
McKenzie "Leddy is a guy teams are interested in. Versteeg was a name going around, but the market doesn't really exist for him"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) September 19, 2014
McKenzie "Maybe they need to package Versteeg and throw in a good prospect to incentivize it so a team will take on his deal."— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) September 19, 2014
For one, a possible trade of Nick Leddy is something that will likely draw mixed reactions from fans of the Blackhawks. He has elite offensive upside, but some question whether or not we've seen the best from him, and whether or not the offensive ability outweighs the defensive shortcomings. It shouldn't really come as a surprise that there's no market for Versteeg, either. His postseason likely turned a lot of teams off.
Interestingly enough, Oduya was not mentioned at all. Perhaps the Blackhawks feel Leddy can be replaced by a player like David Rundblad or Adam Clendening, while continuing to pair Oduya up with Niklas Hjalmarsson. Either way, this will be the situation we all continue to focus on as training camp rolls on. Stay tuned.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.