It's no secret the Blackhawks are up against the salary cap.
After trading Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina, the Blackhawks cleared nearly $5 million in cap space, giving themselves some breathing room heading into free agency on July 1.
But maybe not as much as initially anticipated.
The Blackhawks will carry a $3.07 million salary cap overage into the 2016-17 season, Blackhawks assistant general manager Norm Maciver told The Athletic's Scott Powers on Thursday. The overage is due to the bonuses of Artemi Panarin ($2.8 million), Teravainen ($212,500) and Michal Rozsival ($100,000), equaling $3,112,500, which means the Blackhawks finished the 2015-16 campaign with $42,500 cap space left over, according to generalfanager.com.
It's a substantial increase from their $750,000 cap overage in 2015-16.
It's perhaps what forced the Blackhawks' hand in parting ways with Teravainen since it meant shedding every penny of Bickell's $4 million contract, rather than a potential buyout, which would have counted against the cap for $1 million this season and $1.5 million next year.
The Blackhawks currently have 16 players locked up for a total of $66 million, and that doesn't include the pending restricted free agency of Andrew Shaw. They also retained $1.125 million of Rob Scuderi's salary, which counts against the cap, after he was traded to Los Angeles mid-season.
The National Hockey League has yet to determine a number for the 2016-17 salary cap ceiling, but it's not expected to be a big jump — if at all — from the $71.4 million cap ceiling set in 2015-16.