Blackhawks

What does loss of Marian Hossa mean for Blackhawks’ salary cap?

What does loss of Marian Hossa mean for Blackhawks’ salary cap?

LAS VEGAS – On the ice and in the locker room, the Blackhawks will be feeling the loss of Marian Hossa. But what does it mean for them on the business side?

Hossa will miss the 2017-18 season due to severe side effects from medication he’s been taking to treat a skin disorder. Hossa has four years remaining on his current contract, with a $5.275 million cap hit per season. Earlier this week, the NHL announced that the salary cap will be $75 million for the 2017-18 season. If the Blackhawks spend up to that $75 million mark, they could utilize Hossa’s entire $5.275 million cap hit on other players.

[MORE: NHL community reacts to news of Marian Hossa's medical condition]

According to CapFriendly — by the way, the website’s FAQs on the LTIR is handy — the Blackhawks cannot place Hossa on LTIR until the day before the season. A team can be 10 percent over the cap during the summer but a team must be cap compliant when the regular season begins.

The Blackhawks are currently $2.52 million over the $75 million cap thanks in large part to player bonuses. The Blackhawks lost Trevor van Riemsdyk ($825,000 cap hit) to the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night. Marcus Kruger ($3.083 cap hit this season and the next) remains with the Blackhawks but there's still a possibility he could be moved. That would also alleviate the Blackhawks’ cap issues. The team will have a few voids to fill this offseason, including finding a backup goaltender.

Hossa’s loss on the ice will be a tough one for the Blackhawks to absorb. On the business side, the Blackhawks could gain financial flexibility.

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a strong start this season because they know how hard it is to climb out of a hole in the Central Division. Last season was proof of that.

Well, they've picked up only one out of a possible six points through three games and are one of three teams still searching for their first victory of the season. But they're not going into panic mode just yet.

"We know there's things we have to improve upon," Jonathan Toews said. "Jeremy [Colliton] always talks about doing the right thing and over time eventually you're going to get results. I don't know if we can say we're doing things the right things that we want to and we're playing complete games right now, so even having said that, midway through the San Jose game and even against Winnipeg we were in a position to take control of the game going into the third period and we let teams back in. So I think there's a lot of ways we can play better.

"But having said that we're in those games and giving ourselves a chance to win. Obviously that's not good enough, but we're not going to freak out and say, 'we've got to start winning games.' Of course that's the goal, we wanted to get two points the other night."

The quest to pick up their first two points of the season doesn't get any easier for the Blackhawks on Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers are coming to town with a 5-0-0 record, and they're clicking on all cylinders. They have the second-best power play unit (41.2 percent), second-best penalty kill percentage (94.1), the NHL's leading point-getter in Connor McDavid (12) and leading goal scorer in James Neal (seven).

The Blackhawks know at some point they have to start stringing together some wins, but they're not living and dying by the standings right now because everything looks out of proportion. They're focused on the process and putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"It's always magnified at the start of the year," Colliton said. "Your special teams, you got [teams] with 100 percent PK, you got [teams] with 40 percent power play, and all the little things they look way bigger than they are. Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82, it's not going to be looked upon as closely as this one.

"So again, we've just got to focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we'll get the results." 

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Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

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USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. He's 0-2-0 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this season.

In 18 career appearances against the Oilers, Crawford is 9-7-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout. 

The decision is a little surprising, given how well Lehner performed on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets and what his career numbers are against the Oilers. In eight starts vs. Edmonton, Lehner is 5-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout.

"We're going to continue to ... both guys are going to get in," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's morning skate. "They're both going to play. I'm not going to give you the road map, but today it's Crawford and we'll go from there."

The Blackhawks are seeking their first win of the season (0-2-1) against an Oilers team that's 5-0-0.

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