Marian Hossa trade gives Blackhawks financial flexibility and chance to make larger move

Marian Hossa trade gives Blackhawks financial flexibility and chance to make larger move

The Blackhawks trading Marian Hossa's contract was inevitable. 

It made too much sense for a lower payroll team like the Arizona Coyotes to acquire a contract that carries a $5.275 million cap hit but only $1 million in actual salary for the next three years in an effort to reach the $58.8 million floor and for the Blackhawks to simply get it off the books, creating significant cap space. The fact Vinnie Hinostroza was included in the package is a good indicator of why it took so long to pull it off because there wasn't a way the Blackhawks could do it without removing a key piece of the roster.

But by making the deal, the Blackhawks have given themselves financial flexibility and the opportunity to make a larger move going forward, likely in the form of a trade.

The long-term goal has always been to lock up Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz when their entry-level contracts expire. It's why Chris Kunitz and Cam Ward each received only one year and Brandon Manning two years when they signed on Day 1 of free agency.

Extending DeBrincat and Schmaltz will no longer be a problem. The Blackhawks probably already have a number and term in mind and can move forward with those internal calculations knowing they don't have to worry about navigating around Hossa's contract, and whether to use the in-season or off-season long-term injured reserve route.

What really changes is the Blackhawks' short-term options. Clearly, their three free-agent signings alone aren't going to move the needle in lifting the Blackhawks back into playoff contention. Those were made to shore up depth at each position.

According to, the Blackhawks instantly saved $4.65 million following the trade and sit with roughly $8.55 million in projected cap space tied up to 18 players on their 23-man roster.

Now the Blackhawks can really go out and be more open-minded about a possible impact-type deal, like say former All-Star defenseman Justin Faulk, three-time 30-goal scorer Jeff Skinner or Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty.

Financially, they can make it work.

The challenge at this stage is: What would the Blackhawks be willing to give up to make a blockbuster-type trade to acquire somebody like that? Attaching Hinostroza and Oesterle to the Hossa contract almost certainly means they would have to be willing to part ways with a top-tier prospect at the very least and dip into their draft picks in 2019 or beyond.

You also have to consider the Blackhawks wouldn't be the only ones in the discussion for these kinds of players, so there's a decent chance they'd be competing with other teams on who can offer the most.

This doesn't even include the fact that the asking price is likely to increase or be contingent on a contract extension, which the Blackhawks may be able to contemplate too. 

All of this is now on the table — or at least in the realm of possibility where Stan Bowman can make a few more calls and advance conversations he wouldn't have been able to do before the trade — because the Blackhawks were able to completely clear Hossa's contract from the deck. Even if it came at a price they were perhaps hoping to avoid.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks can't solve rookie Cal Petersen in shootout loss

Four takeaways: Blackhawks can't solve rookie Cal Petersen in shootout loss

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center on Friday:

1. Blackhawks can't solve Cal Petersen

With Jonathan Quick (knee), Jack Campbell (knee) and Peter Budaj (sick) out, the Kings trotted out former Notre Dame standout Petersen to make his first career NHL start between the pipes. And he didn't disappoint.

The 24-year-old stopped 34 of 35 shots (.971 save percentage) in 65 minutes of play and denied Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the shootout to earn his first victory in the big leagues.

"He was good, yeah," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "The third period was more like it. If we’d had 60 minutes [like that] maybe we break him down eventually. He did well, he did a good job. I thought we had a little more traffic, got some more pucks to the net. That was better. But you can’t help but think if we’d have had that push earlier, then we’d get paid off for it."

2. Line changes serve as third-period spark

After failing to generate many scoring chances in the first two periods, Jeremy Colliton spruced up his top-six by putting Brandon Saad with Kane and Toews and Nick Schmaltz with Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov. They saw the benefits almost immediately.

Saad scored 2:39 into the final frame after burying a feed at the doorstep by Toews for his third goal in six games, tying the game at 1-1.

'We showed some resiliency battling in the third," Saad said. "It was definitely a slow start. We've got to play a full 60 minutes to win hockey games, but I think it shows some character how we can battle back in the third. And then overtime we had some chances and some puck possession, and when it comes down to a shootout it can be anyone's game. But the message for us is to play a full 60, because when we play well you can see that we have opportunities and a better chance to win the hockey game."

3. Power play comes up empty

Special teams was the deciding factor in the Blackhawks' last two games. They gave up two power-play goals in 66 seconds against Carolina on Monday and then beat St. Louis 1-0 on Wednesday thanks to a power-play goal of their own.

The Blackhawks had three power-play opportunities against the Kings, and all three of them came in the second period. They recorded a combined six shots on goal during them, but reverted back to some old habits by waiting for the open shot and lacking net-front presence.

"You get three in the second, it would be nice to get one," Kane said. "Even if you're not getting anything on it, it's nice to get momentum off of it. I thought we did a decent job of getting momentum, getting some chances and some looks. Sometimes you've just got to converge on the net and hopefully get those rebounds and try to find a way to get one a little bit dirtier."

The Blackhawks also allowed a breakaway chance towards the end of the third power play, but Corey Crawford saved the day. Tyler Toffoli scored 19 seconds after the Blackhawks' first power play to make it 1-0 Kings.

4. Meet your newest Blackhawk

The Blackhawks had a visitor at morning skate in Carter Holmes, an 11-year-old from Wisconsin, who is battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma. As part of the Make-A-Wish Experience, Holmes became a Blackhawk for a day and practiced with the team, including his favorite player Patrick Kane.

"I might have to change my number," Kane joked about Holmes, who wears No. 88 because of Kane. "I think he was a little bit better than me out there today."

It was the first time Holmes skated since being diagnosed on June 30, four days after his team took first place at a tournament. Holmes feared that he would never be able to play hockey again, but that won't be the close. He's expected to re-join his teammates soon, even if it may take a while to get back into game shape.

"It's pretty special," Kane said of Holmes, who will drop the ceremonial first puck on Sunday for "Hockey Fights Cancer" Night at the United Center. "Sometimes you're just playing hockey and worried about the business aspect of it, but days like today you can take a step back and realize there's more important things out there."

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Updates on the start Jeremy Colliton era


Sports Talk Live Podcast: Updates on the start Jeremy Colliton era

SportsTalk Live is on location at the United Center for Blackhawks Authentic Fan Night. Charlie Roumeliotis, Jay Cohen and Jimmy Greenfield join Chuck Garfien on the panel.

0:00- Pat Boyle stops by to talk about the start of the Jeremy Colliton era and to preview the huge Sunday Night showdown between the Bears and Vikings.

19:00- Adam Burish joins the panel to preview the Blackhawks and Kings and to talk about how the Hawks players are reacting to a 33-year old head coach.

Listen to the full epiosde here or via the embedded player below: 

Sports Talk Live Podcast