Blackhawks know roster changes are coming in wake of Cup win


Blackhawks know roster changes are coming in wake of Cup win

Patrick Kane has seen a lot of friends leave Chicago, teammates that have helped win Stanley Cups but who didn’t fit in future plans in this salary-cap world.

“It’s inevitable, right?” Kane said on Wednesday. “You’re never going to have the same team two years in a row. It’s part of the business, part of the game.”

The Blackhawks have been euphoric these last few days, thanks to winning the Cup, their third in the past six seasons, on Monday. Soon, that euphoria will fade when the inevitable starts happening: The cash-strapped Blackhawks will have to part with a few more players.

The salary cap for 2015-16 hasn’t been announced yet, but the number isn’t expected to be much more than the $69 million of this season. According to, the Blackhawks have $64 million dedicated to 14 players. Someone has to go. Actually more than one probably has to go.

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Patrick Sharp could be one of those on the way out. Sharp, who has two years remaining on his current deal and a cap hit of $5.9 million, has been the subject of trade talk for some time now. When that talk came up again on Wednesday, Sharp wasn’t getting into it much.

“I haven’t really put much thought into it,” Sharp said. “It’s been a whirlwind couple of days. To win a third Stanley Cup in this city is something that I’ll always remember. It’s pretty special. It’s a huge accomplishment. These last couple days have been crazy. I’m sure the next few days when things wind down a little bit, that’ll be more of a topic of conversation.”

Bryan Bickell has been hearing that chatter, too. Bickell’s 2015 Cup season was nothing like his 2013 one. This time around he struggled, and down the stretch his health became an issue. Bickell was out of the lineup with vertigo early in the Stanley Cup Final, and he said on Wednesday that it’s still bothering him. Now there’s the possibility of he and his contract, which still has two years and a $4 million-cap-hit-a-year remaining, being on the way out.

“I consider Chicago my second home, being here, drafted and working my way up through the system and have the ultimate goal and be successful like we have been,” Bickell said. “But it’s part of the business. A lot of friends have moved. It’s out of my control, it happens. I want to stay; it’s a good spot to be in.”

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General manager Stan Bowman is no stranger to this salary-cap carousel. Despite all the changes, especially all the movement that came following the 2010 Cup victory, he’s been able to keep the core of seven or eight long-time players together. That core could get altered this time.

“We want to have some stability. That’s been the hallmark of our success the last couple of years: stability in coaching and management staff, as well as (having) a lot of our key players back. Ideally that’s how you work it,” Bowman said. “But there are things we have to work out and some variables we haven’t locked down yet, so it’s too early to tell.”

The Blackhawks are already eyeing the future. Trevor van Riemsdyk will come into training camp healthy. Michael Paliotta could get an opportunity on defense, as should Stephen Johns. Russian forward Artemi Panarin has coach Joel Quenneville anticipating good things.

“Certainly, it’s the nature of our game,” Quenneville said of roster changes. “Change is all part of it. We’ll miss some pieces or lose some pieces, but there’s some excitement down the road as well.”

The Blackhawks have some decisions to make. The cuts are going to come. Friends are going to go. The Blackhawks have set themselves apart with their Stanley Cup success these past few seasons, despite all the changes. That still doesn’t make parting any easier.

“It’s always sad to see faces leaving the team,” Kane said. “Hopefully there’s not too much damage over this summer.”

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks


Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:


Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”


The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.


Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.


The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'


Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.