A salary cap overage occurs when a team's year-end bonuses put them above the upper limit of the cap. In the case of the Blackhawks, who were right up against the salary cap at the end of last season, that meant pretty much every bonus dollar paid out is carried over to their books for the 2016-17 season.
Artemi Panarin, Teuvo Teravainen and Michal Rozsival earned bonuses last season. Here's how the math works there:
#Blackhawks ended up hitting $3,112,500 in bonuses, broken down as follows:— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 16, 2016
Panarin - $2,800,000
Rozsival - $100,000
Teräväinen - $212,500
Panarin got $850,000 in Schedule A bonuses, $1.725 million in Schedule B bonuses and $225,000 as a games played bonus. Teravainen got $212,500 for finishing among the top six forwards in average time on ice. Rozsival got $100,000 for playing 50 games.
That adds up to $3,112,500, so the Hawks finished the 2015-16 season with just $42,500 in cap space.
It had been widely reported that the maximum figure for Panarin's bonuses was $2.575 million, but that did not include his games played bonuses. The forward received $25,000 for five games played and $200,000 for 10 games played, so he was basically a lock to get those bonuses by making the team.
An overage of $3.07 million is pretty significant -- almost identical to Marcus Kruger's new cap hit -- and will take a bite out of the Hawks' plans for next season. The salary cap for 2016-17 hasn't been announced yet so it's unclear just how much money Chicago has to work with entering the rest of the summer, but with an overage like that and so many stars on the books, this summer is going to be a whole new challenge for GM Stan Bowman. We already knew that, though, when he traded Teuvo Teravainen to clear Bryan Bickell's cap hit off the books. Now the question is whether they spread that money around or use most of it on Andrew Shaw and fill out the rest of the roster with small salaries.
For a look at how we project the Hawks' depth chart and salary cap info based on already-signed players, click here.