Chicago Blackhawks Will Need To Continue Their Salary Cap Mastery To Win More Titles


The Chicago Blackhawks’ front office has done a great job mastering the salary cap on their way to three Stanley Cup Finals. They will need to continue to work the cap in order to continue capturing Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks /

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks captured their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. They are today’s equivalent of a dynasty.

A big reason for their success is their mastery of the salary cap.

The salary cap was instituted in the 2005-06 season after the league lost the entire previous season due to a lockout. The powers that be expected the cap to bring a competitive balance through the control of salaries. Teams would not be expected to keep their roster together after success. Players would want more money, and teams with cap space would gobble up players from winning teams.

Last month, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke about having more teams involved in the playoffs.

“Competitive balance is what we think is paramount,” Bettman said. “The fact that seven teams are in the playoffs who weren’t in the playoffs last year …  the fact that if you’re a fan of any team you have hope going into the season that your team can compete. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why having the right system was so important to us.”

The Blackhawks blew all that competitive balance talk, though.

The Blackhawks won in 2010, and they had to rebuild half the roster. Then they won again in 2013, and were able to hold the core together to win their third on Monday night. They have also gone to five Western Conference Finals in seven seasons.

Now the team will have to find a way to continue their salary cap magic.

One of the Blackhawks’ best players in this playoff run was Johnny Oduya. Now, he is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Throughout the season, Oduya was continually asked about the offseason, but he did not want to deal with it until the end came.

“I would say it comes up every once in a while during the year,” said Oduya. “It’s just one of those things where you really don’t know the answers, you don’t know the outcomes. There’s so many variables that play into what’s going to happen, or not.

“We know the reality. This is what it is. You’ve got to take care of the time you have in front of you. Anything else is not really anything we’re talking about or trying to worry too much about, to be honest with you. ”

Well, now is the time to think (or worry) about Oduya leaving.

The new salaries of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews kick in next season. Their salary cap hits will be $21 million combined, about 30 percent of the expected cap of $71 million.

In all, the Blackhawks will have $66 million tied to 13 players. There will be some serious decisions that need to be made.

In addition to Oduya (who will probably be gone), there are restricted free agents Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger and David Rundblad.

Expect some trades coming from Chicago over the course of the offseason. We will then see if the Chicago Blackhawks still have that salary cap magic (even with the commissioner against them), and make a serious run at more titles.

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