In an effort to free up enough cap space to re-sign restricted free agent Antti Niemi, Stan Bowman traded Marty Reasoner and his $1,150,000 cap hit to the Panthers. In return, the Hawks received 29-year-old journeyman, Jeff Taffe ($550,000 cap hit). Bowman’s latest move is nothing more than a salary dump. Taffe should play most of the season with Rockford, and he may make a rare appearance with the Blackhawks on a bottom line if needed.
Today’s trade is a tell-tale sign that Bowman is going to re-sign Niemi. Hopefully they can come to terms before the scheduled arbitration hearing on July 29. As it stands right now, the Blackhawks have sixteen players locked-up with $138,410 cap space.
Cristobal Huet’s ($5,625,000) cap hit will come off the books before the season starts, but the organization will have his contract count against them till they can send it to Rockford. The collective bargaining agreement allows any team to go over the cap ceiling by 10%, and the Hawks will use that space to re-sign Jordan Hendry and Bryan Bickell on top of Niemi.
The 2010-11 Blackhawks’ cap ceiling ($59,400,000) plus the 10% summer cushion ($5,940,000) equals to a summer ceiling of $65,340,000. So the Blackhawks have $6,013,410 cap space with the summer cushion. As I mentioned above, Bowman will use this space until he needs to have his roster legal by opening night. When you take out Huet’s cap hit from the equation, the Blackhawks actually have $5,763,410 to work with.
Hawks re-sign Evan Brophey
The Blackhawks re-signed 23-year-old center Evan Brophey to a one-year deal worth $500,000. He played 79 games in Rockford last season with 14 goals and 17 assists. Going into the off-season there is no way I would have thought Brophey would crack the Blackhawks roster out of training camp, but a cap friendly hit might have an effect on where he plays come fall.